Jeff Chaltas
913-309-4806 or 913-486-5398

 Kansas City native, holder of the city’s highest office and military veteran to take part in the largest graduation ceremony ever held at the Kauffman Center

LENEXA, Kan. – July 21, 2016 – Grantham University’s most recent graduates will celebrate with Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James as the 2016 Commencement Keynote Speaker at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on August 6, 2016. Grantham University’s ceremony will be the largest graduation event ever held at Kansas City’s most famous arts event venue.

Based in the Kansas City area, Grantham University has been delivering accredited online degree programs and certificates to working adults, active-duty military members and veterans around the world for more than half a century. The majority of Grantham University’s student base consists of active-duty military members and veterans.

“It’s a privilege to have Mayor James honor Grantham and the graduates by speaking at our ceremony at the beautiful Kauffman Center,” said Dr. Cheryl Hayek, Grantham University interim university president and provost. “With the majority of our students either in the military or connected to it, we are looking forward to hearing from a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine, and leveraged his education to become a successful attorney and later be elected to the city’s highest office.”

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mayor James will speak to an audience of nearly 1,800 Grantham graduates, faculty, staff and guests.

“I was particularly drawn to the opportunity to speak to Grantham graduates because of what the university represents to its students — quality education and a solid foundation for employment,” said Mayor James. “These are two of my administration’s major areas of focus to improve Kansas City and create opportunities for local residents. And as adult online learners, Grantham graduates possess not only a solid education, but also qualities of dedication and determination to continually improve their lives — traits that will fare them well as they continue to pursue their dreams.”

Mayor James’ parents ensured that he and his brothers had the opportunity to get a quality education and follow their own dreams. This heavily influenced the mayor’s commitment to education and ensuring children receive a high-quality education regardless of where they live or their socio-economic background.

Through the university’s weekend graduation activities, Grantham is proudly promoting Kansas City as a top city for graduates and their guests, who are coming to the Commencement from all over the world. In addition to showcasing the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Grantham will hold two related events at historic Kansas City Union Station on August 5.

“Part of what makes Grantham unique is our annual physical commencement ceremony — an event that draws graduates from across the country and around the globe,” Hayek said.

According to Hayek, this year Grantham is creating an even more robust experience with two events the evening prior to the actual ceremony. First, there will be a social event for graduates to meet face to face with their Grantham instructors, advisors and other staff, followed by a “professional branding” event for graduates to learn how to enhance their career opportunities.

In addition to Mayor James, Navy Veteran Jeremiah Woznick will be featured as the 2016 Alumni Speaker. Traveling to Kansas City from his Hawaii home, Woznick is an entrepreneur, owner of several small businesses in Hawaii and a professional surfer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MBA from Grantham University. Woznick serves as a project specialist and program delivery manager for the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. In this role, he helps obtain grant funding in U.S. disaster relief areas to restore crucial government infrastructure.

“Jeremiah’s enthusiasm for education and life as a whole is contagious,” Hayek said. “His diverse interests and background have provided him with the kind of life experience that makes for a dynamic, inspirational speaker. He also is among the more than 40 percent of our graduates who return to Grantham for a second degree. Jeremiah’s professional success as a result of higher education will undoubtedly serve to inspire our 2016 graduates as he and Mayor James share their wisdom and insight at this year’s Commencement.”

About Grantham University: 2016 marks the University’s 65th birthday. Grantham University was established in 1951 and today offers more than 45 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. With a mission to provide quality, accessible, affordable, professionally relevant programs in a continuously changing global society, Grantham’s courses are 100 percent online, allowing students to study at home, at work, on Temporary Duty or from almost anywhere in the world. Continuously accredited since 1961 by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), Grantham University has earned a distinguished record as a respected and accredited distance learning university spanning more than six decades of service.