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Walden News // Jan 08, 2014

Walden University Celebrates 51st Commencement in Orlando

Sarah Chayes, former NPR reporter, will address graduates and guests at Jan. 11 ceremony

Minneapolis—January 8, 2014—More than 700 graduates, along with 3,000 expected guests, will attend Walden University’s 51st Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Fla. They are part of a graduating class of more than 4,000 students, representing 50 U.S. states and 90 countries, who have completed bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and education specialist degree programs at Walden during the past six months. Thousands more are anticipated to participate via live webcast, starting at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time at

Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes, former National Public Radio (NPR) reporter, author and South Asia policy expert, will address graduates and guests as the keynote speaker. As a reporter, she covered the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, then left journalism to contribute to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, living there almost continuously from 2001 through 2011. In 2010, Chayes became special advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, contributing to strategic policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arab Spring.

The first graduates from the MS in Human Services program will receive their degrees at commencement. Several individuals will also be honored prior to the ceremony, including:

  • Elizabeth Moxley-Paquette, PhD in Psychology student from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for her dissertation, Testing a Structural Equation Model of Language-Based Cognitive Fitness. This award is presented to the Walden student whose dissertation meets the highest university standards of academic excellence.
  • Krista K. Laursen, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) graduate from Broomfield, Colo., who received the Frank Dilley Award for her doctoral study, Leadership Strategies and Initiatives for Combating Medicaid Fraud and Abuse. This award is presented to the Walden student whose doctoral study meets the highest university standards of academic excellence.
  • Dr. Gary J. Burkholder, faculty member in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences from Oro Valley, Ariz., who received the Bernard L. Turner Award given to the dissertation committee chair of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award winner.
  • Dr. Kenneth D. Gossett, faculty member in the College of Management and Technology from Clear Lake, Minn., who received the Rita Turner Award given to the doctoral study committee chair of the Frank Dilley Award winner.

The Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students twice a year at summer and winter commencement ceremonies. An archived version of the 2014 winter commencement will be available at following the ceremony.

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 50,000 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 75 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 Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association,