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The Fourth of July

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Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the date on which Americans celebrate our nation’s independence.  Robert F. Kennedy once said, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.  Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”  The American revolutionaries certainly serve as support for this statement.  Without our forefathers’ courage to stand up for their own ideals, America as we know and enjoy it today might  not exist.  Our country’s all-volunteer armed forces protect and defend those same principles today and we salute their patriotism, professionalism, and commitment to serving our country.  Often, we lose track  that America’s precedence in its fight for independence and democracy  has served as encouragement for others around the world to  stand up for their ideals and force change even in the face of overwhelming odds and sacrifice.

This year, I will arrive in South Africa on July 4th.  While July 4th is not South Africa’s Independence Day, I believe that it is a great date for me to arrive and experience my first trip there.  For the  majority of South Africans, their independence occurred when apartheid ended in 1994, a fairly recent date in our lifetime.  In the 1970s and 1980s, college students and faculty members were the major voices of conscience pressuring the United States Congress and U.S. corporations to boycott South African goods and products in order to force an end to the apartheid policies.   I distinctly remember the shanty towns that were erected at my alma mater and other colleges across the country to protest the living conditions in South Africa. 

As I travel through South Africa on and around the time of this significant American holiday, I am aware of the sacrifices made by blacks and other minorities in South Africa in order to achieve equality and true democracy.  I am looking forward to my visit and will share my thoughts about the trip after I return.

As you enjoy picnics, parades, and time with family and friends tomorrow, I encourage you to take a moment to salute our nation’s flag.  I also hope you will pause remember those who have sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms for which it stands, consider those around the world who have only recently been granted the rights and freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, and remember that there are others still struggling under governments that refuse to provide those fundamental rights to their citizens.

On this day as on all others, we should all be proud to be Americans.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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