Award-winning journalist and documentarian Soledad O’Brien served as keynote speaker

Minneapolis—March 14, 2018—More than 1,300 graduates and 4,900 guests attended Walden University’s 59th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. The newest graduates, including the university’s first recipients of the Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA), are the latest to join Walden’s international network of alumni—more than 115,000 strong.

Soledad O’Brien, the award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer, served as the keynote speaker and inspired graduates and guests alike, telling them, “We can be anything, and you can be anything. A degree leads to a job and a job to a career. In a career, you have the opportunity to have an impact far outside of your own lives. The very careers that you are entering, careers of service in many cases, means you are poised to serve the world better.”

She continued by asking graduates to reflect: “How do you use your experiences—the stories of what you’ve accomplished and the hard work and obstacles? How do you use all of those things to help other people achieve as well?”

The graduates in attendance were part of a graduating class of more than 6,300 students—representing 50 states and 103 countries—who completed bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and Education Specialist degree programs at Walden in the past six months.

In addition to attending the ceremony, graduates and faculty were recognized and honored during commencement weekend, including:

  • Dr. John Buhmeyer, a 2017 PhD in Health Services graduate from Atlanta, received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for his dissertation, Summary of Pain Management, Gender, and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients. This award is bestowed upon a Walden student whose dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
  • Dr. Robert E. Hoye, Dr. Jim Goes and Dr. LaToya Johnson, faculty in the College of Health Sciences, received the Bernard L. Turner Award, which is given to the faculty dissertation committee of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award winner.
  • Dr. Donald E. Schlomer a 2017 Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) graduate from Vincennes, Indiana, received the Frank Dilley Award for his doctoral study, Strategies for Exploring: ACAT III Requirement Approval Process. This award is bestowed upon a Walden student whose doctoral study is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
  • Dr. Doug Campbell, Dr. Yvonne Doll and Dr. James Savard, 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. James E. Phillips, a 2017 PhD in Management graduate from Shreveport, Louisiana, received the Leadership Award for distinguished scholarship and mentorship. The award honors a student’s leadership contributions that have positively impacted the Walden community during the course of his or her graduate or undergraduate program.

Faculty Excellence Awards were also presented to the following individuals:

  • Dr. Deborah Lewis, College of Health Sciences
  • Dr. Karla Phlypo, College of Management and Technology
  • Dr. Ernesto Escobedo, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Dr. Derek Schroll, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
  • Dr. Alison Lockman, Center for General Education

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 150 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, Walden is one of more than 70 institutions in 25 countries that make up the Laureate International Universities network. For more information about Walden, visit

Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Contact Information
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Please provide a valid zipcode
Additional Information
Get Started

By submitting this form, I understand and agree that Walden University may contact me via email, text, telephone, and prerecorded message regarding furthering my education and that calls may be generated using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our privacy policy or contact us for more details.


By checking this box, I agree that Walden University may contact me by email, text message, autodialed telephone call, and prerecorded message at the contact information provided above regarding opportunities and offers to further my education. I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time and that my consent is not a condition of any purchase. I have received the Walden University Privacy Policy