July Commencement: ‘I couldn’t have done it without APU’

They claimed diplomas, shook hands, smiled for the camera and exited the commencement stage into life’s next chapter.

A typical scene, except that APU’s graduation ceremony July 14 featured no keynote speaker. That role was filled by each of 17 graduates who paused briefly at the microphone of the Earl R. Brown Auditorium in Grant Hall to think out loud about their new degrees.

“I couldn’t have done it without APU,” one graduate said. “Because of the love, support and guidance of APU professors, I made it,” said another.

LaQuana Simmons-Richardson, BA, Human Services, ’12, singled out a two-day camping trip led by Associate Professor Dorothy Dunne for applied learning in resiliency – especially when it came to sleeping on the ground and fending off mosquitoes.

“Thank you,” Simmons-Richardson said. “I’ve made lifelong friends and had new experiences I’ll remember forever.”

Kay Alley, MAT,’12, said she’d come full circle: Alley enrolled in her first college class at Alaska Methodist University 25 years ago, before it was reorganized as Alaska Pacific University.

“This degree has great meaning for me,” she said. “I’m grateful to APU for making it possible for nontraditional students like me to return to school and fulfill their dreams.”

Katherine Tompkins, MBA,’12, said APU’s commencement was a lot different than the one she attended as an Ohio State University undergraduate, where she’d been one of several thousand students.

“This graduation is more reflective of my learning,” Tompkins said.

Founded in 1959, APU is the state’s only four-year, private baccalaureate liberal arts university offering two-year, four-year, master’s and doctorate level programs. APU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.