MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Decorated war veteran and the U.S. Army’s first active duty blind officer, Captain Scotty Smiley, served as the keynote speaker for Kaplan University’s 2013 Winter Commencement held earlier today in Miami, Florida. The ceremony celebrated the graduation of approximately 7,500 online students. With more than 700 graduates in attendance, Captain Smiley impressed upon them the importance of having optimism, tenacity, and education in achieving goals.
“When I was on the verge of failure, education gave me the power to face my fears, learn, improve, and grow in a whole new way,” said Captain Smiley.
The author and speaker has inspired many with his triumphant story of exemplary resilience. He narrowly survived a suicide bomber attack while serving in Iraq, which resulted in serious injuries, including the loss of his vision. With the help of his family and the Army, Captain Smiley forged ahead to fulfill his educational, career and personal aspirations. He has received numerous accolades and awards, including an ESPY award for World’s Best Outdoor Athlete and the U.S. Army’s General MacArthur Leadership Award. His book titled “Hope Unseen” chronicles his heroic journey to self-actualization.
Dr. Wade Dyke, president of Kaplan University, commended graduates for having the personal commitment and drive to reach their educational milestones. He acknowledged the diligence shown by Kaplan’s graduates as he highlighted the academic and individual achievements of several in attendance. Dr. Dyke also encouraged them all to remain steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge.
“Today, you have reached an important and well-deserved milestone—college graduation. What got you here was hard work, determination, and the support of others, especially family,” said Dr. Dyke. “Tomorrow, the life-long journey that is learning continues towards new milestones big and small. Don't stop. Continue to work hard with the same determination that made today possible and you'll realize your goals and dreams.”
Hundreds of Kaplan University’s online students traveled to Miami to celebrate their achievements, while thousands more joined via a live broadcast on www.kaplanuniversity.edu from locations around the U.S. and the world.
About Kaplan University
Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education. It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by providing a practical, student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan University serves approximately 49,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.
Kaplan University is one of Kaplan, Inc.’s higher education institutions, which serve approximately 73,000 students online and through approximately 70 campus-based schools across the United States. Kaplan’s higher education schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from certificates and diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a juris doctor degree. Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. It is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), and its largest division. For more information, visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu today.