Home Online Learning Former NSA, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden to Address APUS Class of 2018 at Commencement
Former NSA, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden to Address APUS Class of 2018 at Commencement

Former NSA, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden to Address APUS Class of 2018 at Commencement

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By Anna Krelovich and David Hubler
Contributors, Online Learning Tips

On Saturday, June 2, some 1,500 APUS students will walk the stage to receive their bachelor’s or master’s degrees at Commencement. In the past year more than 11,000 students have completed their degrees at the university.

Many graduating students will come from all parts of the globe to participate in the academic world’s centuries-old rites and activities. A universal highlight of graduation rites is the commencement address, often given by a well-known politician, educator, entrepreneur or celebrity. Although commencement speakers choose different words, they all have the same goal – to inspire and motivate the new graduates to pursue their dreams and to expect both successes and failures along their life’s journey.

Former CIA and NSA Director General Michael V. Hayden will give this year’s APUS commencement address to students, parents, alumni and faculty at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

General Hayden’s honors include serving as a four-star general United States Air Force (1967-2008); Director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005) appointed by President Bill Clinton; former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (2005-2006); and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush (2006-2009).

Commencement Speakers Offer Encouragement and Advice to Graduates

Commencement addresses offer words of encouragement, support and advice to the new graduates. Many of the more noteworthy addresses find their way into compilations in the media. Here are a few excerpts from some of this year’s noteworthy commencement addresses.

Oprah Winfrey Urges Graduates to Embrace Honesty

TV and film megastar Oprah Winfrey told graduates of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism that they are being “catapulted into a world that appears to have gone off its rocker.” Winfrey asked graduates to declare war on cynicism and embrace honesty.

Hillary Clinton Follows a Humorous Yale Tradition

Yale law school alumna Hillary Clinton took advantage of the school’s humorous tradition of bold headwear to wear a Russian fur cap and joked, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Her speech was not all in jest, though. She urged graduates “to stay vigilant, to neither close our eyes, nor numb our hearts or throw up our hands,” to fight overwhelming polarization in the nation, and to always “get back up and keep going.”

Boston University’s Yasmin Younis Tells the Immigrants’ Saga

Student speaker Yasmin Younis, the daughter of Iraqi immigrants, praised Boston University for being a community that embraces individualism. In her speech, Younis likened her personal struggle for self-acceptance of her Iraqi heritage to a common challenge every student has experienced, saying “every struggle we overcame added to our story.”

Actor Chadwick Boseman Urges Howard Graduates to Press On with Pride

At Howard University, alumnus Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther film fame remembered his own time on campus, crossing paths with Muhammad Ali and participating in student protests. He praised Howard graduates for their own activism this year and urged them to “press on with pride and press on with purpose” as they entered true adulthood.

Tim Cook Tells Duke Graduates to Be the First to Stand Up for Change

Apple CEO Tim Cook reminded Duke University graduates that “no generation has held more power than yours.” Entering a new stage of uncertainty, Cook urged the graduates to “be the last people to accept things as they are, and the first people to stand up and change them for the better.” Most importantly, he advised graduates to “find your fearlessness.”

Soccer Star Abby Wambach at Barnard: It’s OK to Be Disappointed

Retired soccer star Abby Wambach told Barnard College graduates about the expectations women face in the workplace, the power of learning from failure and the importance of lifting up other women. Wambach emphasized how “women are learning that we can be grateful for what we have and also demand what we deserve.” She spoke of the importance of “letting the feelings and lessons of failure transform into power.”

Chobani CEO Ulukaya Tells Wharton Grads: Private Sector Must Address Social Issues

At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Chobani Yogurt CEO Hamdi Ulukaya described the growing responsibility of the private sector to act on social issues. He spoke of a new era, “when the center of gravity for social change has moved to the private sector.” He reminded the graduates that business must make the changes society wishes to see.

Commencement day for APUS graduates holds a special meaning because many of the new alumni have already begun their life’s journey, whether in the military or working in their chosen field while attending classes. So amid the pomp and circumstances of the day’s agenda, they celebrate with their loved ones and friends – and even have the opportunity to finally meet some of their online instructors in person.

It is a great annual event that brings the lifelong learning process full circle. Congratulations and the best of luck to the Class of 2018!



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