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Walden News // Jul 29, 2016

Walden University Celebrates 56th Commencement in National Harbor, Maryland

Minneapolis—July 29, 2016—More than 1,340 graduates, along with about 6,000 guests, attended Walden University’s 56th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, July 16, 2016, at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland. Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico (1994–2000), was the keynote speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.

Dr. Zedillo is a leading voice on globalization and economic development. He is currently director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and a professor of economics and politics at Yale University, as well as a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who use their collective experience and influence to promote peace, justice and human rights worldwide. In 2015, he was named a Presidential Counselor by Laureate International Universities, the world’s leading higher education network, which includes Walden University. In this role, he advises Laureate and its more than 70 institutions on academic innovation and private and public sector collaboration to increase access to higher education.

During his speech, Dr. Zedillo discussed the key role he believes educational institutions have in teaching students to think beyond the classroom as well as the need to close the huge educational and skills gap that exists. He said, “It is not only about providing everybody with an opportunity to be educated, it is also about acquiring the skills required to prosper in a world driven by technology, competition and rapid change. In other words, it is about acquiring education and skills and these must be constantly retooled and even recreated with new knowledge and technologies.”

Addressing the graduating class, which he noted is one that has already spent several years active in the job market, Dr. Zedillo congratulated them saying, “Your aspiration and drive to fulfill it certainly constitute a highly worthy personal accomplishment, but in addition, these qualities exemplify the attitude that should prevail now and in the future if, as individuals and societies, we truly want to be up to the challenges posed by the 21st century.”

Twice a year, the Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students at summer and winter commencement ceremonies.

“We are pleased that our newest graduates had the opportunity to hear Dr. Zedillo’s message. His words have great meaning and importance in a world that today has too many resentments, too many threats, and too much instability,” said Jonathan Kaplan, president of Walden University. “His words will help guide us all as we work to address today’s societal challenges together.”

The Walden graduates in attendance were part of a graduating class of more than 5,330 students, representing 50 states and 96 countries, who have completed bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and education specialist degree programs at Walden in the past 6 months. Many of the graduates and guests participated 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. Today, more than 52,600 students from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 155 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university offers more than 80 degree programs with more than 400 specializations and concentrations. 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 70 campus-based and online universities in 25 countries. For more information, visit