Press Release Details

View all news

American Public University System Recognizes More Than 2800 Graduates at Commencement Ceremony

June 05, 2009

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun. 5, 2009-- The largest graduating class in the history of American Public University System ( (APUS) was recognized recently at the APUS Class of 2009 commencement. Comprised of member institutions American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), APUS is an accredited online university system that serves more than 45,000 working adults studying worldwide. More than 300 of the 2800 graduating students were in attendance – traveling from destinations as close as Maryland and as far away as Denmark and Germany – at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Va. Graduates received master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees that were earned exclusively online.

Originally founded as American Military University by a former Marine Corps officer and instructor, James P. Etter, APUS focused on meeting the unique educational needs of the military – a very mobile population with extended, irregular schedules and limited financial resources. At its launch, AMU enrolled 18 students in 22 courses and offered only graduate degrees. APUS has grown exponentially since that time, expanding to include American Public University. It continues to educate those who serve with a mission of educating the nation's military and public service communities by providing respected, relevant, affordable, and student-focused online degree programs. APUS now offers 74 degree programs which prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse, global society.

AMU Founder, James P. Etter, was awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration honoris causa during the commencement ceremony. “You should have much satisfaction and a justifiable feeling of great pride,” said Etter to graduates. “The university has come a long way since January of 1993 and 18 students. It’s had its ups and downs, but today it is a solid academic institution from which any student should be proud to be a graduate.”

The commencement address was given by Dr. Thomas J. Haas, President of Grand Valley State University. Haas is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served 27 years in the Coast Guard, retiring as a Captain. He is also an internationally recognized expert in hazardous waste transportation who holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut. He served as Dean of Academics at the Coast Guard Academy prior to serving as Vice President of William Penn College in Iowa and President of the State University of New York at Cobleskill.

Dr. Haas shared his philosophy that decisions are made by leaders. “Leadership is the confidence to do the right thing,” said Haas. “When called upon to do the right thing, answer the call.”

Student honors speaker for the graduate degree ceremony, Dr. Karen Cieslewicz, charged graduates to, “Do things that scare you because they are the most challenging.” She also shared that her journey has been worth it because she chose to follow her dreams. “We are not only dreamers, we are achievers. We can only go up from here.” Dr. Cieslewicz is an MD who earned a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and a certificate in Emergency Management from American Public University.

The 2009 Commencement brings the APUS mission full circle. By educating those who serve, American Military University and American Public University are preparing students for service and leadership in a global diverse society.

About American Public University System

American Public University System, with member institutions American Military University ( and American Public University (, is an accredited, affordable online university system that educates more than 45,000 adult learners worldwide. APUS offers 74 degrees its online undergraduate and graduate programs. Courses are taught by professors who are experienced in the real-world subjects they teach. APUS’s curriculum, affordability and flexibility helps working adults pursue degrees in homeland security, national security and emergency and disaster management. APUS also offers programs in professional studies, management, and liberal arts. A university book grant supplies textbooks at no cost for eligible undergraduate students. American Public University System is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI). For more information, please visit

Source: American Public University System

American Public University System
Renée Williams Hockaday, 703-334-3868

Categories: Press Releases
View all news