Local Students Among Kaplan University’s Summer 2011 Online Graduates

CHICAGO, Ill. — Kaplan University celebrated the graduation of its summer 2011 class during a graduation ceremony on Aug. 6 at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago. During her address, former Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman spoke to the online graduates about the importance of education to workforce development and global competitiveness.

She noted that those with degrees fare better in a tough labor market, citing the U.S. Labor Department’s most recent 9.1 percent unemployment rate.


“What’s not reported in the news is that the unemployment rate for those with college degrees is four percent. This number confirms what we have always known,” Herman said during the ceremony. “What you know will directly influence how far you go and education matters more than ever. It is the great equalizer.”

The following local students were awarded degrees:

  • Kenneth Freeman of Linden was awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice.
  • Francesca Henry of Linden was awarded a Master of Science degree in Legal Studies.
  • Rafael Alvarez of Elizabeth was awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice.
  • Colleen Pettigrew of Elizabeth was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies.

The Kaplan University’s summer 2011 class included more than 7,200 graduates who earned associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all online. More than 1,000 of them traveled from around the country to attend the ceremony, meeting face-to-face for the first time. Others watched from home via a live webcast. Since 2001, Kaplan University has graduated nearly 40,000 students who have used their education to advance professionally and meet personal goals.

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