Encouraged by a bright blue sky on a warm day, enthusiasm was high at the first of Vaughn College’s two spring open houses. More than 450 people were treated to tours, programs, raffles and more on Saturday (April 14) as the College opened its doors to a potential new generation of students and their families.

“It’s a great event,” said Debbie Flanagan, mother of high school sophomore Matt Flanagan. The pair made the trip from Rahway, N.J., where Matt is a budding pilot. “We both heard about Vaughn and wanted to come and find out more together.”

“I’m interested in becoming a professional pilot so I’ve come to the right place,” Matt added.

Saturday’s event began with a welcome from College President Dr. John C. Fitzpatrick and breakfast, after which students and their families were treated to a series of academic information sessions followed by several “Ultimate Open House Experiences” designed to highlight student possibilities.

Admissions and financial aid representatives fielded questions and clubs and activities showcased the College experience to interested students, some of whom came from as far away as Charlottesville, Va., Lexington Park, Md. and Natick, Mass.

Carlo Aiello didn’t travel quite that distance. The Monroe, N.Y. resident made the two-hour trip with his grandparents convinced it was the right place to begin his college search. The junior at John S. Burke Catholic High School is considering a career in aviation and related technologies.

“What I like about Vaughn is that the programs I am interested in are right in the name of the school — aeronautics and technology,” Aiello said.

Ahyesa Villaverde, a native of Paraguay now living in New York City, has completed a year of college and was attracted by the variety of Vaughn’s degree programs and what she called its “student-first” culture. As importantly, her mother Antoliana, was equally impressed.

“I know she’s not going to be the one going to the school, but I want my mom to like it, too,” Villaverde said. “I want to make my mom happy and she loves this school.”

VAUGHN COLLEGE SPRING 2012 OPEN HOUSE: From top, Dr. Maxine Lubner, chair of the aviation and management departments, lead an academic information session; interested students meet with members of clubs and athletic teams; below, an enthusiastic crowd is welcomed in the morning.