Adtalem Celebrates Walden University Commencement

February 21, 2024
"Walden Winter 2024 Commencement"

Nearly 1,200 online graduates from around the world traveled to San Antonio to celebrate. Meet one of them and see photos from the celebrations. 

In January, Walden University celebrated its 70th commencement with nearly 1,200 graduates from more than 20 countries and almost all 50 states who registered to celebrate in San Antonio, Texas. 

Walden University offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs online.

All told, the online university honored more than 5,500 students who had doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees conferred since the previous ceremony.  

Made with Flourish


One of those graduates was Ronay Austin, who earned a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. She traveled from Pittsburgh and was joined by her four children. Her father, friends, and classmates watched the livestream.  

To be in this building, to be here in this moment, I don't know if I have words for it. When I saw the Walden sign and graduates, it was powerful,

she said. “I'm just so excited. I'll probably cry the whole ceremony.”

Her challenging route to an MSW made the moment more special. In her youth, she struggled as a student, and educators who had negative things to say changed her passion and path. Before attending Walden, she earned an associate degree in corrections and a bachelor’s in early education.  

"Walden 70th Commencement"
My other two degrees were not about me. It was trying to prove something to someone else,

she says.

I didn't think that I would ever be able to have a master’s degree. But this time, this degree was to prove to me that I can actually do it.

According to a survey by the National Association of Social Workers, 66% of people who earn an MSW have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline.

Austin is putting her degree to work as director of Family Foundations Early Head Start. “I’ve always thought that I wanted to just teach, but once I got into education, the things that I did with my students were more being therapeutic opposed to teaching,” she says. “So, I changed gears and decided to go back for my master’s in social work. I wanted to get my MSW because I felt that I can reach more people with that degree.” 

Walden is among the top 5 grantors of MSW (Master of Social Work) degrees.

Inspiring Speakers

Graduates and their families heard from inspiring faculty and alumni speakers.  

"Walden 70th Commencement 2"
Some of you started in places where resources were sparse. Some of you started where there were fewer people who looked like you teaching in your classrooms or in leadership positions in your community.

—Dr. Nina Nabors, Vice Provost 

Some of you may have … encountered other roadblocks or barriers that impeded your progress. No matter where each of you started, here you all are today having proven to yourself, to your family, and to the world that you belong.


"Walden 70th Commencement"
Scholarship is more than getting an A. I didn’t always get A’s. Scholarship is about character and substance. Who you are is not just defined by the level of education you can obtain but also by the way you love people, the way you help people, the way you pour into people and how you allow people to pour into you.

—Dr. Xellex Rivera, PhD in Human Services ’20 

"Walden 70th Commencement 1"
To make a significant impact in education and positive social change, leaders must have a standard of resilience and perseverance that allows you to tackle these challenges. The lives of many are in your hands and depending on you. Do not let them down.

—Dr. Kevin Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator, Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences 

"Walden 70th Commencement 3"
You are now armed with your education that will give you a ‘seat at the table’ in the career you desire. Now use that education alongside your humanity and desire to change the world to inspire others to change as well.

—Dr. Alina Perez, Dean, College of Allied Health 

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: