--(Kaplan University will hold its annual winter commencement, celebrating the graduation of approximately 7,500 online students at 10 a.m., Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the James L. Knight Center, located at 400 SE Second Ave., Miami, FL 33131.)--
U.S. Army Captain Scotty Smiley will deliver the keynote address. As the first active duty blind U.S. Army officer, Smiley has inspired many with his triumphant real-life story of overcoming a major setback to fulfill his dreams. Nearly eight years ago, while serving in Iraq, an explosion caused by a suicide bomber left Smiley without sight in both eyes. Though this was devastating for the West Point graduate, his unyielding spirit ultimately paved the way for him to earn an MBA, win a 2008 ESPY award for World’s Best Outdoor Athlete, and publish an autobiography titled “Hope Unseen.”
The highly decorated war veteran (recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star) was bestowed the General MacArthur Leadership Award and was named Soldier of the Year in 2007 by the Army Times. He has been a guest on major media outlets such as Fox News and CNN. In addition to being a devoted husband and father, Captain Smiley currently works with the Gonzaga University ROTC Program. He often speaks to various corporations, churches, and educational groups about the power of hope, optimism and perseverance.
More than 700 students are expected to travel to Miami to attend the ceremony. Thousands more from around the U.S. and the world will participate online via a live broadcast on www.kaplanuniversity.edu.
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.