Even though we couldn't be together this year, we were so excited to celebrate our amazing graduates on May 16, 2020. This year we celebrated virtually for the first time and in doing so, we joined millions of others around the world celebrating this milestone from afar.
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Our speakers came to you this year from their homesand we are proud to bring their inspirational stories and years of experience to you as you celebrate safely at home.
University Provost, Dr. Vernon C. Smith
Dr. Vernon C. Smith joined American Public University System (APUS) as Provost in 2016 bringing his extensive background in online learning issues and practices, including effective quality, assessment, and retention strategies. Prior to APUS, Dr. Smith was with the University of the Pacific where he served as Vice Provost of Distributed Learning and Associate Professor of Practice in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. Dr. Smith earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish at Brigham Young University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He has a Master of Organizational Behavior from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Administration of Higher Education from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The University of Arizona.
APUS President, Dr. Wallace E. Boston
Dr. Wallace E. Boston, Jr. 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. 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 September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his retirement in June, 2020.
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.
Graduate Student Speaker, Ms. Dominique Williams
Dominique was born in Haiti but moved to the United States in 1999. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences from the University of Missouri and recently completed her Master of Science in Sports and Health Sciences with American Military University (AMU). She and her husband currently reside in Killeen, Texas with their German shorthaired pointer, Theo. Dominique currently serves as the Battalion S-2 in the 115th Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Hood. She and her husband love to stay active, dancing, traveling, and taking cruises. Dominique is also looking forward to her next assignment as the Waco Recruiting Commander in Waco, Texas.
Undergraduate Student Speaker, Mr. Aaron Rios
Aaron is the Director of Public and Government Relations at Walmart where he's currently celebrating his 26th anniversary. He started his career with Walmart at age 18 where he quickly worked his way up through their operations team to serve as the Market Manager for 12 stores and over 4,000 associates. In October of 2015, he moved to his current role on the Corporate Affairs team working on strategic initiatives across the United States. He began attending American Public University (APU) in November of 2015 through an education partnership between Walmart and APU following a more than 20-year break in his college studies. He graduated from APU in April of 2020 with a bachelor's degree in Management.
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American Public University System (APUS) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Public Education, Inc. (APEI). Pursuant to a contractual arrangement, APEI provides certain services for the benefit of APUS, subject to APUS oversight and ultimate authority. Pursuant to a license, APEI may use APUS’s trademarks and other intellectual property in its performance of those services. American Public University System, American Public University, and American Military University are not affiliated with American University or the U.S. Military.