More than 5,400 graduates and guests expected to attend July 11 ceremony

Minneapolis—July 10, 2015—More than 1,176 graduates, along with 4,300 expected guests, will attend Walden University’s 54th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, July 11, 2015, at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland. They are part of a graduating class of more than 5,000 students, representing 50 states and 88 countries, who have completed bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and education specialist degree programs at Walden in the past six months. Thousands more are anticipated to participate via live webcast, starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, at

Dr. William G. “Bill” Durden, a Fulbright Scholar, distinguished educator and internationally respected leader in higher education, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Durden is president emeritus of Dickinson College, joint professor (research) in the Graduate School of Education at the Johns Hopkins University, and dean of the Global Venture School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Bath Spa University in Bath, England.

“As we celebrate our 45th anniversary this year, we are exceedingly proud of our more than 90,000 graduates worldwide who earned their degrees from Walden since our first commencement in 1972. These most recent graduates are part of our powerful community of change-makers—current students, alumni, faculty and staff committed to positively impacting communities around the world,” said Jonathan A. Kaplan, interim president of Walden University.

The graduating class includes the first graduates in the PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. Several alumni faculty and staff will be honored before the ceremony, including:

  • Stacey Pilling, a 2015 PhD in Public Health graduate from Columbus, Ohio, who received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for her dissertation, A Qualitative Analysis of Migrant Women Farmworkers’ Perceptions of Maternal Care Management. This award is bestowed upon the graduate whose dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.

  • Dr. Jeanne Connors (chair), Dr. Larissa Estes and Dr. Magdeline Aagard, faculty in the School of Health Sciences, who received the Bernard L. Turner Award, given to the faculty dissertation committee of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award winner.

  • Crystal S. Johnson, a 2014 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate from Roswell, Georgia, who received the Outstanding Alumni Award which recognizes an alumna or alumnus who exemplifies Walden’s mission to effect positive social change. A nurse scholar at the Emory University Hospital Serious Communicable Disease Unit, she demonstrated exceptional courage, leadership and knowledge as one of the first nurses to treat Ebola patients in the United States.

  • Dr. Iris Yob, director of social change initiatives, and Chue T. Vang, student success advisor and president and founder of the Hmong American Education Fund, who are the first recipients of the Commitment to Social Change Award which recognizes exemplary social change activities employees are engaged in, both within and outside of the university, that reflect Walden’s mission of positive social change.

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.

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 150 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 offers more than 80 degree programs with more than 370 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, social work, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. For more information, visit

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 28 countries. For more information, visit

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