WEST LAFAYETTE — More than 1,500 Purdue University Global graduates worldwide took part in in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies on Saturday (Aug. 14) at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. It marked Purdue Global’s 11th commencement since its formation in 2018.
Three ceremonies took place throughout the day. Degrees were awarded from the schools of Business and Information Technology, Education, General Education, Health Sciences, Nursing, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Concord Law School. There were 746 bachelor’s degrees, 543 graduate degrees, 135 associate’s degrees, 99 certificates and 30 doctoral degrees (14 Doctor of Nursing Practice, eight Executive Juris Doctor, and eight Juris Doctor).
The graduates reside in all 50 states – including 156 Indiana residents – plus Washington, D.C., while the British Virgin Islands and six additional countries were represented: Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. Twenty employees of Purdue West Lafayette, Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Northwest, and Purdue Global are among those who earned a Purdue Global degree or certificate via the Purdue Global education benefit.
Two of the graduates are husband and wife from Fredericksburg, Virginia – Vernon Beslow III, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity, and Shamila Beslow, who received a Pathway to Paralegal post-baccalaureate certificate – and walked across the stage together.
Christopher Fairbank, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from Purdue Global in 2020, provided the keynote address for all three ceremonies. He told the graduates that change is inevitable and that they need to be ready and willing to be a part of the change and to help the change be successful.
“We have proven today, and we have proven over the last several years that we have been going to school here at this great institution, that we all will amount to something,” said Fairbank, a renowned ballet dancer turned police officer turned motivational speaker. “I wholeheartedly believe and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that each and every person listening to this today is able to achieve greatness … You are a leader, you have integrity and you will surely be the change that we all want to see in this world.”
Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley addressed the graduates, over half of them in-person (804) after the pandemic forced virtual-only ceremonies for the last three commencements (June 2020, December 2020, and May 2021).
“I am so excited to be standing here on this stage to celebrate you, our Purdue University Global graduates,” Dooley said. “We are grateful to provide a ceremony that brings us all together, no matter where we are around the globe, either virtually or here in the Warner Theatre. It’s quite remarkable: We are celebrating across the U.S. and around the world. … I love that we can remain close through this institution as we commemorate your accomplishments today.”
Dooley noted that over 9,000 Purdue Global students are affiliated with the military, including over 4,800 active duty, National Guard and reserve members serving around the globe. Almost 50% are the first in their family to attend college, and about 60% have a child or other dependent.
“These numbers shape the individuals who joined you in the classroom and will join you in the workforce,” Dooley said.
Three Purdue Global graduates performed the national anthem before their respective ceremonies: Chelsea Emma Franko, from Apple Valley, California, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness; Misty Davis, from Louisville, who earned a Master of Science degree in management and leadership; and Shantel Horn, from Millville, New Jersey, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in applied behavior analysis.
In the days before commencement, Purdue Global hosted various virtual celebratory events, including a photo booth, toast, graduation “shout out” board and social media activities.
Over 10,000 Purdue Global students have graduated in the last year.
The next Purdue Global commencement is scheduled for Dec. 4 and will take place on the Purdue West Lafayette campus for the first time in the Elliott Hall of Music.
About Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits, and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu.
Information: Tom Schott, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Frank Dooley, Beth Smith, Christopher Fairbank