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American Public University System Recognizes Accomplished Class of 2020 at its First-Ever Virtual Commencement

CHARLES TOWN, WV, May 20, 2020American Public University System (APUS) celebrated a record graduating class at its 24th annual commencement on May 16 – its first-ever virtual ceremony in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The event, which recognized the accomplishments of nearly 13,000 American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU) graduates from all 50 states and 19 countries worldwide, featured more than 2,000 student participants and was streamed live via the university’s Facebook pages.

The Class of 2020 featured approximately 9,000 servicemembers from all branches, expanding the APUS global alumni network to more than 98,000 worldwide. Conferrals by degree level included approximately 2,900 associate, 6,800 bachelor’s and 3,200 master’s degrees.  

“It was truly gratifying to have so many of our graduates attend virtually from across the miles,” noted APUS President and Keynote Speaker Dr. Wallace E. Boston, who was introduced by APUS Provost Dr. Vernon Smith and invited 2020 graduates who are able to attend the Class of 2021 Commencement in May 2021 for a special recognition. “My memories are filled with the joys of meeting many graduates and their families over the years and hearing about their educational journey. While their paths are all unique, they are united by one common theme—a successful completion.”

Dr. Boston’s keynote was followed by similarly inspirational remarks from graduate and undergraduate class speakers Dominique Williams and Aaron Rios, respectively. Williams, who recently completed her MS in sports and health sciences with AMU, currently serves as the Battalion S-2 in the 115th Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Hood. Rios graduated from APU in April 2020 with a bachelor's degree in management, and is director of public and government relations at Walmart, where he recently celebrated his 26th anniversary.

The annual Dr. Wallace E. Boston Leadership Award was presented to William Porter in recognition of his outstanding leadership and significant community and professional impact. A 13-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Porter served as a Security Forces Member and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent and graduated from AMU with a bachelor’s in intelligence studies in May 2013. As a Security Forces Member and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent, his work included a deployment to Iraq with a special task force, supporting U.S. Special Operations Command and the DoD Criminal Investigations Task Force. He currently serves as deputy director of operations support for Team Rubicon, an international non-profit that conducts disaster response.

Associate Professor Dr. Chander Sekar was presented with the James P. Etter Award for innovation in transforming business analytics courses utilizing Open Educational Resources (OER) that reduce or eliminate textbook costs. Established in 2004, the award is presented annually to a member of the university community in recognition of an innovative or creative contribution that has made a significant impact on the global community.

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About American Public University System

American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and five-time recipient of OLC’s Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University, the #1 provider of education to the U.S. military*, and American Public University. Over 100,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS’s relevant, flexible curriculum and value. For more information, visit

*Based on FY 2019 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times.