Good Afternoon.  My name is Paula Singer, and I have the privilege of being the Chair of the Walden University Board of Directors.  On behalf of the Board of Directors and the faculty, staff, and administration of the University, I am pleased to welcome you assembled here today - and those who are joining us via live webcast – for the forty-second Commencement of Walden University.

I am pleased to introduce a very special guest today.  In 2006, the citizens of Minnesota voted our special guest as the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the Northstar state. In just a short period of time, Senator Amy Klobuchar has affected change on a number of fronts, notably serving as a sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In addition, Senator Klobuchar took a leadership role  last year in helping to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation. She has also introduced legislation to secure health and education benefits for our nation’s veterans.  Most recently, as a Member of the Judiciary Committee, she participated in Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

Working Mother Magazine named Senator Klobuchar “Best in Congress” last year for her efforts on behalf of working families. The Washington Post has described her as “a rising star”.

Senator Klobuchar formerly served as Hennepin County’s chief prosecutor where she received national recognition for her safe school initiatives and criminal justice reform efforts.

Please join me in welcoming United States Senator Amy Klobuchar.

[Senator Klobuchar addresses the graduates]

Since 1970, Walden University has worked to support the academic goals of working professionals so they can make a greater impact in their communities and in their professions.  Today we come together as an academic community to recognize and honor those in our community who have fulfilled their hopes and dreams by completing programs of study for the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and the highest degrees conferred in the Academy, the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Education.  These talented and committed individuals – our graduates – are here this afternoon to have their degrees officially conferred upon them and to receive the plaudits of their colleagues.

All members of the Walden community take great pride as we celebrate the success of our graduates, but perhaps none more so than the members of the Board of Directors with us today who are the chief stewards of the University’s programs and resources, and the chief advocates for the University’s mission, well being and future.

Members of the Board of Directors of Walden University who are on the stage today include:

Dr. Charles Heller, President, Annapolis Capital Group
Dr. Anita McDonald, Chancellor of Penn State Dubois
Dr. Stan Paz, Founding President of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents
Dr. Nivine Megahed, President of Kendall College
Donna Dorsey, Principal in Dorsey and Associates Consulting
Lee McGee, of Sterling Capital Partners

Please join me in a round of applause for these distinguished board members who do so much to support and guide our university.

In addition to our Board of Directors, I would like to recognize two distinguished guests joining our platform party on the stage today – Bernie and Rita Turner – two of the founders of Walden University.  You both have done so much to make Walden what it is today and will yet become.  We are so pleased you were able to join us today to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates.

I am also pleased to acknowledge the leadership of Walden University with us today.  They include:

Mr. Jonathan Kaplan, President;
Dr. Denise DeZolt, Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President;
And our Vice Presidents, Executive Directors, Dean and Associate Deans who work tirelessly in the pursuit of excellence for our University.

And it is with great pleasure that I recognize the faculty in such splendid array with us today. It is these faculty members who make the university and its programs come alive to our students, and it is they who represent the university’s heart and soul. Will all of our faculty please stand, and I would ask that everyone please join me in giving a special round of applause to the faculty for their dedication to the University and our students.

Graduates – the board, faculty, and administration of Walden University take great pride in your achievement today. We know that the conferral of your degrees will not only affect your lives, but the lives of those you serve. In fact, it is our expectation.

Your collective efforts extend far beyond the boundaries of the United States. The display of national flags you see behind me represents the diversity of Walden University’s graduates. From left to right, this graduating class is represented by: The United States of America, Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.