Distance Learning Students Come Together for American Public University System Graduation Ceremony Near the Nation's Capital

Charles Town, West Virginia, UNITED STATES

CHARLES TOWN, W.V., May 17, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- American Public University System (www.apus.edu) -- whose member institutions include American Military University (www.amuonline.com) and American Public University -- will graduate more than 1,100 students at commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 19, in Arlington, Va.

After years of sharing knowledge and shaping critical thinking skills in online classrooms, 130 of these graduates from across the country and as far away as Italy will attend the ceremony in person -- meeting classmates and professors for the first time.

The University System serves more than 20,000 civilian and military students worldwide and has the nation's leading online intelligence and homeland security programs (www.amu.apus.edu/homeland-security).

"We're proud of our graduates -- and inspired by their perseverance and commitment to their careers," says Wallace E. Boston Jr., president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to seeing them make a difference in the homeland security, disaster management, intelligence, public safety and corporate sectors, and in their communities."

Speakers and awards

Graduation ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Va.

U.S. Army Major General Barbara Fast is the keynote speaker. Fast is the Commanding General of the Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, Ariz. AMU has a cooperative degree program agreement with the Intelligence Center.

Fast has served more than 30 years in numerous command and staff intelligence assignments. Prior to her command at Fort Huachuca, previous assignments include Director of Intelligence, Headquarters, U.S. European Command and the Senior Intelligence Officer for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her many awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Legion of Merit award.

AMU alumnus Dr. J.D. Polk will receive the 2007 Famous Alumni award. Polk is chief of the medical operations branch, space medicine division of NASA. He supports the crews of the U.S. space shuttle, the Russian Soyuz space capsule and the International Space Station. He also serves in the Air Force Reserve and is chief of aerospace medicine for the 22nd Air Force Headquarters, Dobbins Air Force Base. He is assigned to the surgeon general's tactical action team. Polk earned his master's degree in space studies from AMU in 2005.

Harold (Tony) Klingensmith will receive the Outstanding Graduate award. He earned his master's degree in civil war studies from AMU, graduating with honors. Klingensmith served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 22 years and helped maintain the nation's intercontinental ballistic missile force (ICBM). He retired in 1999 as a chief master sergeant. He now works for The Boeing Company, leading a team that designs and fields modifications to ICBM trainers.

AMU Professor and alumnus Steve Greer will receive the 2007 James Etter Award for outstanding creativity and innovation. Greer teaches military studies and earned his master's degree from AMU in 1998. In 2002, he started The Greer Foundation (http://www.thegreerfoundation.org/) to raise public awareness of the sacrifices of military service members and to assist children who have been victims of war and conflict. He was formerly special assistant and analyst to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Greer is sought out for his commentary on terrorism, warfare and military policy. He retired from the U.S. Army as a combat-decorated Command Sergeant Major after serving more than 20 years.

About the University System

American Public University System includes American Military University and American Public University. The 15-year-old regionally accredited institution provides relevant and affordable distance learning in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs (www.amu.apus.edu/Academics/Degree-Programs/index.htm) -- taught by professors who are experienced in the real-world subjects they teach. The University System is set apart by its curriculum, affordability and flexibility. It offers relevant curriculum for working adults, covering professional studies, management and liberal arts, with specialized programs in homeland security, national security and public safety. It offers affordable tuition, Federal Student Aid, and a university book grant for degree-seeking undergraduates, which covers all book costs. The University System also offers flexible, monthly course starts, with eight- and 16-week classes available.

          Russell Public Relations
          Carolyn Russell

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