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Walden News // Aug 21, 2012

Walden University Celebrates 48th Commencement in Minneapolis

Minneapolis—August 21, 2012—More than 500 graduates, along with 2,500 expected guests, will attend Walden University’s 48th Commencement Ceremony, being held Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. They are part of a graduating class of more than 5,500 students, representing 50 U.S. states and 49 countries, who have completed their bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and education specialist degree programs at Walden during the past six months. For graduates, family and friends who are unable to attend, Walden will host a live webcast of the ceremony starting at 1:30 p.m. Central time at

Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez, former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, will serve as the keynote speaker. Championing issues such as human development, democracy and demilitarization, Dr. Arias has traveled worldwide spreading a message of peace and applying the lessons learned from the Central American peace process to topics of current global debate.

“Our most recent graduates, as part of the Walden community, are committed to social change. Together with our alumni and current students, they are well-prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow and make an impact in their communities locally and around the world,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, president of Walden University.

At commencement, degrees from a number of programs will be awarded for the first time. These programs are BS in Accounting, BS in Healthcare Management, BS in Information Technology, BS in Political Science and Public Administration, MS in Accounting, MS in Accounting and Management, MS in Early Childhood Studies, MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling and MS in Management.

Several individuals will also be honored during the ceremony:

  • Kristal D. Ayres, a 2011 Doctor of Education (EdD) graduate from Lilburn, Ga., who received the Frank Dilley Award for her doctoral study, A Summative Program Evaluation of a Systemic Intervention on Student Achievement and AP Participation. This award is bestowed upon a graduate whose doctoral study is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
  • Vicky D. Woodruff, a 2012 PhD in Health Services graduate from Missouri City, Texas, who received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for her dissertation, Physiologic Capacity as a Predictor of Postoperative Complications and Associated Costs in Three Types of Oncological Surgeries. This award is bestowed upon a graduate whose Ph.D. dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
  • Tia B. Campbell, a 2008 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate from Quinton, Va., who received the Outstanding Alumni Award, which recognizes an alumna or alumnus who exemplifies Walden’s mission to effect positive social change. She was cited for her contributions to student health and school nursing through her work as a school health specialist with the Virginia Department of Education.
  • G. Raymond Raynor Jr. of Warwick, Bermuda, the husband of 2012 MS in Leadership graduate Karen Raynor, received the Above and Beyond Award, presented annually to a friend or family member of a graduating student whose support went above and beyond the call of duty and made it possible for the graduate to achieve her or his goal.

The Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students twice a year at summer and winter commencement ceremonies. An archived version will be available following the ceremony. For more information, visit

About Walden University
For more than 40 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 48,500 students from all 50 states and more than 140 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 60 campus-based and online universities in 29 countries.

Walden offers more than 65 degree programs with more than 330 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 Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association,