More than 1,200 Purdue Global graduates take part in commencement ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

WEST LAFAYETTE — Jacque Yates has long had a passion for public service. Her journey sparked an interest in pursuing a graduate degree, and she earned her master’s in public health from Purdue Global in 2021.

New Purdue Global graduate
A smiling Purdue Global graduate shares the moment with loved ones after receiving his degree. (Purdue Global photo/Hanna Graber) 

On Saturday (Aug. 13), Yates provided the keynote address to 1,212 Purdue Global graduates who took part in in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

A native of Gary, Indiana, now serving residents in Dallas as a program analyst lead for the CDC Foundation, Yates told the graduates to focus on the present.

New graduates celebrates
A new graduate celebrates her Purdue Global degree at commencement ceremonies Saturday (Aug. 13) in Washington, D.C. (Purdue Global photo/Hannah Graber)

“I want you to focus on the dreams and ideas that fueled you throughout this journey,” said Yates, whose husband, James, is also a Purdue Global alum. “Focus on that feeling you felt when you successfully completed your first assignment. Focus on the confidence that overcame you when you were notified of your candidacy for graduation. Take all of that and I want you to carry it with you to every job interview, make sure it’s present during every presentation, and make it your official plus-one at every networking event.

“Because that is what is going to allow you to stand tall as a Purdue Global graduate. That will help you find the opportunity in every obstacle. The train of life will only carry you as far as the tracks you have laid before it. A degree from Purdue Global allotted me a foundation of skills that I have found to be transferable across disciplines.”

Two in-person ceremonies and a virtual one took place over the course of the day. Degrees were awarded from the schools of business and information technology, education, general education, health sciences, nursing, social and behavioral sciences, and Concord Law School. There were 563 bachelor’s degrees, 405 master’s degrees, 135 associate degrees, 90 certificates, and 19 doctorate degrees (11 Doctor of Nursing Practice, six Juris Doctor, and two Executive Juris Doctor).

The graduates reside in all 50 states – including 69 Indiana residents – plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Guam, India, Japan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. A total of 234 graduates are affiliated with the military. Six employees of Purdue West LafayettePurdue Fort WaynePurdue Northwest, and Purdue Global are among those who earned a Purdue Global degree or certificate via the Purdue Global education benefit.

Chancellor Frank Dooley addresses Purdue Global’s newest graduates during commencement ceremonies on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Dooley spoke to approximately 630 Purdue Global graduates who took part in in-person ceremonies and about 580 who participated virtually. (Purdue Global photo/Hanna Graber)

Chancellor Frank Dooley addressed the graduates – 632 of them in person and 580 virtually.

Dooley noted that over 9,000 Purdue Global students are affiliated with the military, including nearly 5,100 active duty, National Guard, and reserve members serving worldwide. Almost 50% are the first in their family to attend college, and about 60% care for a child or other dependent.

“What you have all done is so remarkable,” Dooley said. “You completed your education while dealing with everything that life throws your way, including a pandemic. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get where you are today, and you should be proud.”

Laquinta Pollard, from Austin, Texas, received a Purdue Global diploma for her Master of Science degree in human services and also performed the national anthem.

Saturday marked Purdue Global’s 14th commencement since its formation in 2018 and the third in the nation’s capital.

In the days prior to commencement, Purdue Global hosted various virtual celebratory events, including a photo booth, toast, graduation “shout-out” board, and social media activities.

More than 11,000 Purdue Global students have graduated in the last year.

The next Purdue Global commencement is scheduled for Oct. 22 in the Elliott Hall of Music on the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

About Purdue Global

Purdue 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

Information: Tom Schott,

Sources: Frank Dooley, Beth Smith, Jacque Yates