A record number of 1,400 graduates and 5,500 guests attended Walden University's 58th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland. The newest graduates are the latest to join Walden's international network of alumni—more than 113,000 strong.
Former Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in U.S. congressional history, was the keynote speaker. As a former social worker who spent four decades in Congress, Mikulski discussed the importance of being civically engaged and making a difference in communities around the world. She told graduates and guests, "We need your ideas and we need your idealism. We need your commitment that got you through school to help create a new and a better world."
Continuing with her speech advocating social change, she declared, "I'm asking you to be the best at what you can be, and to be the best at what you're needed for, and that every single day you ask yourself, 'How did I make the world a better place and how can I join with others to make the world a better place?' Each and every one of you can make a difference. And when we work together, we can make change."
Graduates and faculty were also recognized and honored during commencement weekend, including:
- Dr. Carol Ikard, a 2017 PhD in Education graduate from Austin, Texas, received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for her dissertation, The Aesthetic Experience, Flow, and Smart Technology: Viewing Art in a Virtual Environment. This award is bestowed upon a Walden student whose dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
- Dr. Beate Baltes, Dr. John Flohr, and Dr. Estelle Jorgensen, faculty in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, received the Bernard L. Turner Award, which is given to the faculty dissertation committee of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award winner.
- Dr. Harry Kemp, a 2017 Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) graduate from Jacksonville, Florida, received the Frank Dilley Award for his doctoral study, The Survival of Small Businesses in Northeastern Florida After a Natural Disaster. This award is bestowed upon a Walden student whose doctoral study is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
- Dr. Patricia Fusch, Dr. Marilyn Simon, and Dr. William Stokes, faculty in the College of Management and Technology, received the Rita Turner Award, which is given to the faculty doctoral study committee of the Frank Dilley Award winner.
- Dr. Lovely A. Thornton, a 1993 PhD in Education graduate from Fort Washington, Maryland, received the Outstanding Alumni Award, which is given each year to one alumnus who exemplifies Walden's mission to effect positive social change through contributions to his or her profession, discipline or community. Dr. Thornton has spent 40 years and more than 50,000 hours volunteering in the U.S. and abroad, and started her own nonprofit, Sensible Women Initiative, Inc., to assist girls and women in learning wise decision-making skills to use throughout their lives.
- Dr. Mahaman Moussa, a faculty member in the School of Nursing from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received the Commitment to Social Change Award, given to faculty and staff who exemplify Walden's mission of positive social change by demonstrating a profound impact at the local, national or international level.
Faculty Excellence Awards were also presented to the following individuals:
- Dr. Cheryl Anderson, College of Health Sciences
- Dr. Rocky Dwyer, College of Management and Technology
- Dr. Lee M. Stadtlander, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Dr. Karen Milheim, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
The graduates in attendance were part of a graduating class of more than 6,300 students—representing 50 states and 115 countries—who have completed bachelor's,master's, doctoral and education specialist degree programs at Walden in the past six months.
The Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students twice a year at summer and winter commencement ceremonies, with many graduates and guests participating via live webcast.
About Walden University:
For more than 45 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Students from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 155 countries are pursuing their bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university offers more than 85 degree programs with more than 435 specializations and concentrations. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org. Walden is one of more than 70 institutions in 25 countries that comprise the Laureate International Universities network. For more information about Walden, visit www.WaldenU.edu.