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American Public University System Recognizes 14,000 Accomplished Graduates in Class of 2021

Virtual Commencement Takes Place as Part of 30th Anniversary Celebration

Charles Town, WV—May 25, 2021 – American Public University System (APUS) celebrated its graduating class at its 25th annual commencement on May 22. The virtual event recognized the accomplishments of over 14,000 American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU) graduates from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries. Graduates range in age from 18 to 84 years old.

“This commencement is unique because of the challenges you will face as you begin or continue your journey, and it is unique because you must define yourself in a world that is as undefined, uncertain and chaotic as I can remember in my 40 years of service,” said Keynote Speaker Gen. Vincent Stewart, an APUS Board of Trustee member. “You are about to embark upon or return to a world that will demand your commitment, your intellect, your engagement and the full application of what you’ve learned during this part of your journey.”

The Class of 2021, comprising graduates from August 2020 through June 2021, features approximately 11,000 active-duty military, National Guard, reservists and veterans. It comes as APUS celebrates its 30th Anniversary.

“How great it is today that we can reach so many active-duty military, veterans and public service personnel through our online campus,” said Gen. Alfred M. Gray (retired), Chairman of the APUS Board of Trustees and the 29th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. “You will have some wonderful stories to tell your children about how you finished your degree during these unprecedented times.”

Conferrals by degree level included approximately 3,500 associate, 7,500 bachelor’s degrees and 3,000 master’s degrees. 

“Getting a degree is never easy in ordinary times, and it is remarkable during these extraordinary times. Extraordinary times require extraordinary people – and we found them in you,” said APUS President Dr. Wade Dyke. “Your hard work is a remarkable story of resilience that binds our entire University together – a story matched only by the commitment of our faculty and staff.”

Class of 2021 graduates hail from countries as far away as Australia, Belgium, Ethiopia, Japan, Pakistan and the Philippines.

“While many graduates are participating today from home with your families, many of you are also still on the front lines, working in healthcare, deployed, delivering critical supplies and materials, and taking care of those who are ill or recovering,” said APUS Provost Dr. Vernon C. Smith. “We applaud you during these hard times.”

Keynotes were followed by inspirational remarks from graduate and undergraduate class speakers Eric Sneed and Tyler Thomas, respectively.

Sneed, a former U.S. Marine, is an air traffic control specialist who founded the Never Alone Veterans Association, which assists veterans in obtaining benefits earned through their military service. The group also provides meals and supplies to homeless veterans. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Management. Thomas, an active-duty Marine, successfully finished his studies while deployed at three different duty stations and several large training exercises, both in the United States and Asia. During his senior year, he was deployed to Iraq, where he finished his last classes. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in American Military History.

APUS hopes to return to an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2022. The event was streamed live via the university’s commencement website and available for viewing here.

About American Public University System

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 higher education to the U.S. military and veterans,* and American Public University. Approximately 110,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS’s accessible, relevant curriculum and flexible online delivery model. APUS is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Public Education, Inc. (Nasdaq: APEI). For more information, visit

*Based on FY 2019 Department of Defense tuition assistance and Veterans Administration student enrollment data, as reported by Military Times, 2020.

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