Commencement speaker Dr. Condoleezza Rice shares insight on importance of higher education to a crowd of more than 6,600
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state, addressed more than 1,100 graduates and 5,500 guests, faculty, administration and staff attending Walden University’s 52nd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at the Gaylord National Resort near Washington, D.C. Dr. Rice, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degree, from Walden at the ceremony, shared her compelling personal story and experiences from her distinguished career in higher education and diplomacy. She also offered the audience inspiring insight into the importance of education and the responsibility that comes with earning an advanced degree.
“Education is such a privilege. … I want you always to remember that, [for] those of you who took this chance to receive higher education, … this is a very special gift,” Dr. Rice told the Walden graduates.
In her speech, Dr. Rice also recognized Walden’s “great mission” of positive social change and the important role its students play in using their education to “… reach back, and down, and across …” to make a difference in the world.
“I know, too, that this is a very global internationalstudent body. Walden reaches out to people all over the world who just want that promise of education,” she said. “Those of you who have been a part of a truly international community, a global community, can now be ambassadors for a world in desperate need of people who can translate, people who are not afraid of those who are different, and people who recognize the differences as a source of strength across our human community.”
The newest alumni are part of a graduating class of nearly 5,500 students representing 50 U.S. states and more than 70 countries who have completed their bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or education specialist degree programs at Walden during the past six months. The graduating class also included the first graduates from the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program, which began in the School of Management in fall 2012.
Several alumni and faculty were honored before the ceremony, including:
Dr. Saulat Jahan, 2014 Ph.D. in Public Health graduate from Saudi Arabia, who received the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for her dissertation, “Gestational and Pregestational Diabetes in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: A Meta-Analysis of Maternal and Fetal Outcomes.” This award is bestowed upon a graduate whose dissertation is judged as meeting the highest standards of academic excellence.
Dr. Walter McCollum, 2004 Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Sciences graduate from Fort Washington, Maryland, who received the Outstanding Alumni Award. This award recognizes an alumna or alumnus who exemplifies Walden’s mission to effect positive social change. He was cited for his work in humanitarian projects around the world.
Dr. Peter B. Anderson, College of Health Sciences from The Woodlands, Texas, who received the Bernard L. Turner Award, given to the faculty dissertation chair of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award recipient.
Walden proudly hosts diverse speakers from around the world who present an array of experiences and viewpoints with the hope of inspiring scholarly conversation. Dr. Rice joins the list of accomplished individuals who have addressed Walden commencement audiences, including former President Bill Clinton, former Secretaries of Education Richard W. Riley and Margaret Spellings, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Laureate Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez, former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Rt. Hon. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, and social change leaders Lilly Ledbetter, Dr. Tererai Trent and Paul Rusesabagina.
The Walden University community gathers to honor its graduating students twice a year at summer and winter commencement ceremonies. An archived version of the webcast will be available at