The Leadership Lectures: Captain Barrington Irving | Center for Leadership | Florida International University | FIU
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The Leadership Lectures: Captain Barrington Irving

The Leadership Lectures feature world-class, accomplished and influential leaders with expertise ranging from business and philanthropy to public service and academic research. Through the Lectures we hope to allow our community to have access to the expertise, advice and best practices of some the world’s foremost leadership minds and so the lectures are free and open to the public.


  • About the lecture

    How can we fuse the passion to explore, the skill to fly around the world, and the ability to make science, technology, engineering and math real and relevant to our students?  Better yet, how can we make STEM+, which includes history, geography, and the humanities too, relevant in the classroom?  Answering these questions led Barrington to create the Flying Classroom, an interactive learning adventure that took him to Asia, Indonesia, and Australia last fall, where he carried out 16 powerful ground, air, and sea expeditions exploring real-life applications of STEM+. Throughout the trip, students nationwide followed his adventures through their science curriculums that accessed videos and a real-time blog on

    Captain Barrington Irving will share exclusive moments, videos, images, and experiences from his adventures and discuss how this innovative project brought STEM+ into schools, engaging and delighting thousands of students and educators.

  • Date

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015


  • Barrington Irving, Captain

    Captain Barrington IrvingOn June 27, 2007, 23-year-old Captain Barrington Irving secured his place in history as the youngest person and first black pilot to fly solo around the globe. On his 97-day journey, he flew 30,000 miles in a single-engine aircraft called Inspiration. His purpose in making the trip was to show other youth that if he could achieve his dream, they could too.

    Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and brought up in inner-city Miami, Barrington saw a football scholarship as his only route to college. But at 15, he met Jamaican airline pilot, Captain Gary Robinson, whose mentoring helped motivate the young man to pursue a professional career in aviation.

    In 2003 Barrington founded the nonprofit Experience Aviation and set up the Experience Aviation Learning Center that continues to offer STEM-based programs and career guidance to middle and high school students in the Miami area.

    In September 2014, Barrington launched the Flying Classroom, the world’s first-ever interactive STEM+ learning adventure. Flying to 13 countries in North America, Asia, Indonesia, and Australia, he explored real-life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, history, geography and humanities (STEM+) through 16 powerful ground, air, and sea expeditions. Students followed his adventures at as part of their school’s science curriculum.

    A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida Memorial University, Barrington was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2012. He is the recipient of a Congressional Resolution acknowledging his pioneering work in aviation education and a Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world.

View a list of past events.

The Leadership Lectures are presented with the generous support of Amerant Bank.

Mercantil Commercebank

We would also like to thank our university partner, FIU Honors College for their support.

FIU Honors College