Two weeks ago, we recognized the graduation of 5,589 students with a graduation ceremony in the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland. This year’s graduating class was the largest in the history of the American Public University System (APUS) and its institutions, American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU). Our 5,589 graduates were awarded 2,388 master’s degrees, 2,506 bachelor’s degrees, and 695 associate’s degrees and hailed from all 50 states in the United States and 17 other countries. We awarded degrees in 82 of the 85 programs that we offer.
Over 90 percent of our graduates worked full-time while they were enrolled at either AMU or APU. Many (66 percent) served their country as members of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves. It takes perseverance and determination to earn a degree over many years, and a majority of our graduates attended other colleges and universities before they completed their degree at AMU or APU. Time spent completing college courses means fewer hours shared in family activities and generally requires the cooperation of student and family members in order to balance course work with family time.
There have been numerous studies about the difficulties that adult students encounter in completing their college degrees while working, raising a family, being a caregiver, etc. Graduates attending the reception the night before the ceremony shared some of their stories with each other, the faculty and staff members in attendance, and with me. Their stories are inspiring. The faculty, staff, and I are proud of our students and our graduates for their professional, personal, and academic accomplishments and wish all of our graduates the very best in their future endeavors.