U.S. Army`s First Active Duty Blind Officer Captain Scotty Smiley Inspires Thousands at Kaplan University`s Winter Commencement

Sat Feb 2, 2013 12:47pm EST

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More than 7,000 online graduates celebrate reaching educational milestones
MIAMI--(Business Wire)--
Decorated war veteran and the U.S. Army`s first active duty blind officer,
Captain Scotty Smiley, served as the keynote speaker for Kaplan University`s
2013 Winter Commencement held earlier today in Miami, Florida. The ceremony
celebrated the graduation of approximately 7,500 online students. With more than
700 graduates in attendance, Captain Smiley impressed upon them the importance
of having optimism, tenacity, and education in achieving goals. 

"When I was on the verge of failure, education gave me the power to face my
fears, learn, improve, and grow in a whole new way," said Captain Smiley. 

The author and speaker has inspired many with his triumphant story of exemplary
resilience. He narrowly survived a suicide bomber attack while serving in Iraq,
which resulted in serious injuries, including the loss of his vision. With the
help of his family and the Army, Captain Smiley forged ahead to fulfill his
educational, career and personal aspirations. He has received numerous accolades
and awards, including an ESPY award for World`s Best Outdoor Athlete and the
U.S. Army`s General MacArthur Leadership Award. His book titled "Hope Unseen"
chronicles his heroic journey to self-actualization. 

Dr. Wade Dyke, president of Kaplan University, commended graduates for having
the personal commitment and drive to reach their educational milestones. He
acknowledged the diligence shown by Kaplan`s graduates as he highlighted the
academic and individual achievements of several in attendance. Dr. Dyke also
encouraged them all to remain steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge. 

"Today, you have reached an important and well-deserved milestone-college
graduation. What got you here was hard work, determination, and the support of
others, especially family," said Dr. Dyke. "Tomorrow, the life-long journey that
is learning continues towards new milestones big and small. Don't stop. Continue
to work hard with the same determination that made today possible and you'll
realize your goals and dreams." 

Hundreds of Kaplan University`s online students traveled to Miami to celebrate
their achievements, while thousands more joined via a live broadcast on
www.kaplanuniversity.edu from locations around the U.S. and the world. 

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.

Kaplan University
Pascious Prince, 954-515-3603

Copyright Business Wire 2013