Hundreds of Excelsior College Classmates From Around the Nation Meet Face-to-Face For the First Time at Commencement

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As President Obama urges adults to return to college, Excelsior College graduates assemble as they have for more than 35 years.

Excelsior College will welcome a record-number of distance learning graduates from around the U.S and other nations to Albany, N.Y. for Commencement 2009, on July 9-10.

More than 300 graduates are expected to attend the Excelsior College ceremony, which will honor 5,671 working adults who have completed various degree programs this academic year at the accredited, nonprofit distance learning leader. They will travel hundreds, even thousands of miles, with young children, families and friends to attend the traditional ceremony for decidedly nontraditional graduates. They will meet their instructors, academic advisors and classmates for the first time at various events.

For those graduates unable to attend in person, Commencement 2009 will be available for viewing with a live Webcast on Friday, July 10 at 3 p.m. EST. After the event, the video will be archived so those who couldn't watch Commencement as it unfolded, can share in the pomp and circumstance at their convenience.

  • The average Excelsior graduate is 38 years of age, a working adult who is balancing career, family and college studies.
  • The graduates include military personnel, some of whom earned their degrees while deployed in war zones; 33 percent of this year's graduates are members of the U.S. military.
  • As the largest school in the nation for nursing students seeking associate, bachelor's and master's, Excelsior will honor 2,154 nursing degree recipients this year, a 27 percent increase over last year.
  • Thirty percent of graduates represent themselves as members of minority groups
  • The youngest graduate this year is an 18-year-old woman from Brooklyn. The eldest, who will be attending Commencement, is a 71-year-old retired airline pilot from Florida.

Soledad O'Brien, anchor and special correspondent for CNN Worldwide, is the Commencement speaker and an honorary degree recipient.

Special events:

  • Thursday, July 9, 4-7:30 p.m., Hospitality Suite (informal gathering), The Desmond Hotel, Albany, NY
  • Friday, July 10, 9:00-10:00 a.m., Open House, Excelsior College, 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY
  • Friday, July 10, 3:00-5 p.m. Commencement, Empire State Plaza Convention Center
  • Commencement speaker: Soledad O'Brien, CNN journalist
  • Reception, base of The Egg, Empire State Plaza, 5 p.m.     

Please view July 9-10 schedule of activities here
Please view the Commencement Program here
Please view student award winners and Commencement speaker info here

Excelsior College ( is an accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution that focuses on removing obstacles to the educational goals of adult learners. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, NY, Excelsior is a proven leader in the assessment and validation of student knowledge. It offers more efficient and affordable access to degree completion through multiple avenues: its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance in transfer of credit from other colleges and universities as well as recognized corporate and military training programs. Excelsior College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Ellen Lahr
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