Minneapolis—March 3, 2015—Edna Adan, former foreign minister and Somali first lady, addressed more than 1,050 graduates and 4,600 guests, faculty, administration and staff attending Walden University’s 53rd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando. Adan shared her powerful personal story and experience of going against all odds to effect positive social change in her country and offered inspiring insight into the importance of education and the responsibility that comes with earning an advanced degree.
“We were honored to have Edna Adan, a passionate advocate who gives a voice to the voiceless, share her inspiring story of social change with Walden graduates,” said Jonathan Kaplan, interim president of Walden University. “Her drive to pursue education as a basic human right and her continuous fight to challenge the status quo ring true for the Walden community, who undoubtedly went home feeling motivated to continue impacting their communities, now and in the future.”
Adan reflected on her journey as the first Somali girl awarded one of a few coveted scholarships to study in Britain, where she spent seven years studying nursing, midwifery and hospital management to become Somaliland’s first qualified nurse-midwife in the country. She then went on to open the Edna Adan University Hospital in 2002 and Edna Adan University in 2012, “the first university in Somaliland that is headed by a woman.”
For Adan, her scholarly achievements made her accountable to the women and girls of Somaliland and gave her the ability to create educational opportunities that previously may not have been able to be realized. “Besides giving me a new purpose in life, the [Edna Adan University] Hospital has also become a platform from where I can influence education in my country, where I can encourage girls to go to school and often say to those who hesitate ‘Do you think that I could have built this hospital without education?’” continued Adan.
In her speech, Adan reinforced to the graduates that “… today proves to all that you have the skills and the professional competence to succeed but the graduation also places responsibilities on you to show to all what you can do with that degree you have worked so hard to obtain.”
Walden’s newest alumni are part of a graduating class of more than 6,100 students representing 50 U.S. states and more than 97 countries who have completed their bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or education specialist degree programs during the past six months.
Several alumni and faculty were honored before the ceremony, including:
- Dr. Joshua M. Garrin, Ph.D. in Psychology graduate from Milford, Pennsylvania, who received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for his dissertation, “Inspiring Change: Exercise Self-Efficacy, Dispositional Optimism, and Perceived Stress in College Seniors.” This award is bestowed upon a graduate whose dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
- Dr. Kimberley Cox, School of Psychology from Los Angeles, California, who received the Bernard L. Turner Award, given to the faculty dissertation chair of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award recipient.
Walden proudly hosts diverse speakers from around the world who present an array of experiences and viewpoints with the hope of inspiring scholarly conversation. Adan joins the list of accomplished individuals who have addressed Walden commencement audiences, including former President Bill Clinton, former Secretaries of Education Richard W. Riley and Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Laureate Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez, former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Rt. Hon. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, and social change leaders Lilly Ledbetter, Dr. Tererai Trent and Paul Rusesabagina.
The Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students twice a year at summer and winter commencement ceremonies. An archived version of the webcast will be available at www.WaldenU.edu/commencement.
About Walden University
For 45 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 47,800 students from all 50 states and more than 145 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 80 campus-based and online universities in 30 countries.
Walden offers more than 75 degree programs with more than 385 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. 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.