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Marylhurst University Graduates Record Class

For Release: June 13, 2011

Nearly 750 students are degree candidates

Sasha Vidales worked in social services for more than a decade, and while earning her MBA, opened her own agency to help individuals with disabilities reach their goals of independence through motivation, education and training. Iraq war veteran and freelance writer Derek Neuts focused his undergraduate studies on how to help veteran families integrate back into society, and he pursued graduate studies at Marylhurst to develop academic programs in veterans' affairs. After working at an electric utility, David Tkach will soon become the first Marylhurst student to earn an interdisciplinary studies bachelor's degree with a specific focus on sustainability, and plans to use this knowledge to incorporate sustainable practices into electricity-generating processes.

All three will be among the record 748 degree candidates honored at Marylhurst University's 117th commencement ceremonies Saturday, June 18 at the Oregon Convention Center. Marylhurst will award 269 bachelor's degrees and 479 master's degrees to the institution's largest ever class of graduates.

"I continued to be humbled by the inspiring personal commitment each of our graduates has made to achieving his or her personal and professional goals," said Marylhurst president Judith Johansen. "Commencement for all of our students, whether they are just beginning their adult lives or fulfilling a decades-old dream, is not only the celebration of all they've accomplished, but a launch of their new journeys to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. I'm honored to be a part of that celebration."

Four winners of the Marylhurst University Excellence in Teaching Award for 2010-11 also will be honored during the commencement ceremony: Simeon Dreyfuss, Interdisciplinary Studies; Christine Turner, Art Therapy Counseling; Louise Neilson, Communication Studies; and Duane Gehlsen, Human Sciences. The winners are selected from numerous nominations submitted by students and colleagues.

A complete list of 2011 Marylhurst University degree candidates can be viewed at

About Marylhurst University

Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university near Portland, Ore., is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for academic excellence in serving adult learners. More than 1,900 students earn degrees on campus and online. Marylhurst's undergraduate and graduate degrees integrate the liberal arts with professional studies to prepare students as interdisciplinary thinkers and ethical leaders.

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