Minneapolis—January 22, 2008— Walden University, one of the nation’s largest providers of graduate degrees to educators, has named its College of Education after Richard W. Riley, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and a leading advocate in advancing education as a national priority. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University is the largest online college of education in the nation, with more than 15,000 students currently enrolled in its master’s and doctoral programs as well as more than 17,000 alumni.

“Walden is honored to name its College of Education after Secretary Riley, an esteemed leader with an outstanding legacy of improving access to education. His tireless commitment to all students and his focus on diversity in education are ideals shared by our university as well as by our students and graduates as they use their degrees to make a real difference in their communities,” said Jonathan A. Kaplan, J.D., president of Walden University.

Secretary Riley will give the commencement address at Walden’s winter commencement ceremonies on Feb. 2. He will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university, which will celebrate the graduation of more than 3,000 Walden students from all 50 states and 11 countries.

Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership supports the needs of educators at all levels, from preschool through higher education, and at various stages of their profession, including career changers interested in pursuing teaching, new and veteran classroom teachers, and experienced faculty and administrators.

“Walden University has long been a leader in providing graduate degrees to educators, and I am honored to become formally associated with my friends there. Walden is an innovative institution that has succeeded in bringing quality, accessible education to our workforce of teachers, administrators and other education professionals. I am proud to be affiliated with an institution that is a force in K–12 education, has shown commitment to diversity, and has a focus on early childhood education,” Secretary Riley said.

Secretary Riley has focused on improving education for nearly 30 years, first as governor of South Carolina and then nationwide when President Clinton selected him to head the U.S. Department of Education in December 1992. As the nation’s top education administrator over the course of two terms, Secretary Riley helped launch historic initiatives to raise academic standards in all 50 states, improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged, and expand grant and loan programs to help more Americans pursue higher education.

During Secretary Riley’s eight years at the helm, the U.S. Department of Education focused on creating the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, modernizing old school buildings as well as constructing new ones, and reducing class sizes for children in grades one to three. Secretary Riley’s other accomplishments include promoting grants to create smaller schools, expanding after-school programs, and bridging the digital divide. He also helped win improvements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He is currently co-chair of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to improving teaching quality nationwide, and vice chair of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based organization that seeks through innovative, hands-on methods to improve public K–12 education and increase access to college.

About Walden University
Since 1970, Walden University has offered working professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Today, this comprehensive, accredited online university offers master’s and doctoral degrees in education, psychology, management, public policy and administration, and health and human services—as well as master’s programs in engineering and IT and a bachelor’s program in business. Walden University is a member of Laureate International Universities, the largest global network of accredited campus-based and online universities. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.hlcommission.org; 312-263-0456.

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