University News

The Big Day: Graduates Share the Best of Commencement

Strayer University faculty and staff gather with degree candidates and their families at five regional commencement ceremonies throughout 2014 to celebrate the achievement of higher education.

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Graduates at the Atlanta and Washington, D.C., ceremonies shared their thoughts on the big day.

4 Things to Look Forward to at Commencement

5 Reasons to Attend Strayer University

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6 Pieces of Advice from Graduates to New Students

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The celebration will continue at two more ceremonies in 2014:

Norfolk, Va. — October 25
Baltimore, Md. — December 6

For more information visit


Strayer University Surprises Two Guests on ‘Steve Harvey’ Show with Full Scholarship and Nonprofit Donation


Tawanda Jones on the “Steve Harvey” show

On the “Steve Harvey” daytime talk show, a segment called “Harvey’s Heroes” honors people who make a difference in the lives of others. In two recent episodes, Strayer University surprised one very deserving woman with a full scholarship and surprised an alumna with a $10,000 donation to her nonprofit organization.

A New Student, A Fresh Start

Tawanda Jones appeared as a guest on “Steve Harvey” last November to discuss her work as the founder and director of Camden Sophisticated Sisters, a dance and drill team in Camden, N.J. The nonprofit provides a safe haven to at-risk youth—to date, more than 4,000 children.

In the interview on the show, Jones spoke of her regret in not finishing her college degree. She began taking college courses after high school but withdrew during her second year to move back home and care for her ailing grandfather. After hearing her story, Harvey informed Jones that she was a “Harvey’s Hero” and would be receiving a full scholarship to Strayer University to complete her degree.

“I have always pushed my kids to follow their dreams and continue their education because I believe a degree has the power to change lives,” Jones said. “I was willing to put my dreams on hold to take care of others, but earning a degree from Strayer University will give me the skills and background I need to give back to my community in even greater ways.”

Jones is currently an undergraduate business student at Strayer University’s Center City Campus in downtown Philadelphia.

Honoring Alumna Achievements


(left to right): Dr. Michael Plater; former Youth Angel Scholar Tierra Holmes; Kelley Everett, MEd ’10; Steve Harvey

On the March 13 episode of “Steve Harvey,” Strayer University turned its attention to an alumna who helps youth throughout the Philadelphia area achieve academic success. In a surprise announcement on the show, Kelley Everett was also named a “Harvey’s Hero,” and her nonprofit, Youth Angel Scholars, was awarded a $10,000 stipend by Strayer University.

A K-12 educator for more than a decade, Everett began Youth Angel Scholars after seeing the impact that academic support and positive attention can have on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Youth Angel Scholars helps to transform teens in the areas of health, civic service, entrepreneurship, and leadership through academic and volunteer activities.

“It is incredible to think that what was once a dream to help the youth in my area has turned into a valuable service for so many over the last 10 years,” said Everett, who earned a master’s degree in education from Strayer University in 2010.

“We are honored to have Tawanda join the Strayer University family and we could not be prouder of Kelley and all that she is accomplishing,” said Dr. Michael Plater, president of Strayer University. “We know that the experiences of both these women will serve as motivation and inspiration to all our students, alumni, faculty and staff.”


Student Success Coaches Provide Specialized Support

illustration of arrow hitting bullseye target

Success is often defined by the end result—a degree, a new job, or a bigger paycheck. Strayer University believes that the little successes along the way are just as important. Deciding to go back to school is a small success; the first day of class is a success; the first “A” is a success; the first completed class is a success.

Through its Student Success Coaches, Strayer University celebrates every step of the educational journey and offers personal support to ensure that students are successful. Coaches are a one-stop-shop for student needs, assisting with everything from academics and financial services to goal setting and life balance issues.

For more information, visit


Noted and Quoted

photo of McDonnell“Overall affordability, the cost of a college degree, is a very important part of the national agenda. A college education historically has been a great enabler of economic mobility, but if it’s out of reach because of high tuition costs, it fails to serve its purpose.” —Karl McDonnell, CEO, Strayer Education, “Markets Now,” Fox Business, Jan. 27, 2014

photo of Backman“We have faculty who care so deeply about our students. On the way in, we tell our faculty, if you just want to be an expert, this isn’t the place for you. You need to be an expert and a coach. The faculty has a big role in ensuring that students feel like they are part of a community.” —Dr. Andréa Backman, Dean, Jack Welch Management Institute, “Changing Careers Online,” CNBC, March 13, 2014

photo of Fain“Strayer studies how top-performing instructors get results. They use that information to reach out to faculty members with personalized messages and also send a weekly email to all university instructors with three or four tips on how to better reach students.” —Paul Fain, Senior Reporter, “Predicting Success”, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2014

photo of Plater“New disruptive innovations...have the potential to extend opportunities for higher learning within academic and corporate settings. The innovation and excitement of this era will only continue to grow.” —Dr. Michael Plater, President, Strayer University, “Three Trends Shaping Learning,” Chief Learning Officer Magazine, June 2014


Experts of Practice Enrich the JWMI Experience

The Jack Welch Management Institute provides students with powerful takeaways that can be immediately applied to their work. Now, the program is bringing experts of practice—real, proven leaders—into its executive MBA curriculum.

Already infused with insights from Jack Welch, the program offers video lessons from working CEOs and executives at top companies who share their business insights and stories from the field.

“These leaders bring something to our program that you won’t find anywhere else—direct lessons from some of the best in the business,” says Dr. Andréa Backman, dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute. “It’s an innovative, unique and very effective way to connect classroom lessons to the working world.”

JWMI Experts of Practice include:


New College Deans Focus on Innovation and Engagement

Mary Carr (left) and Nicole Morris

Through two distinct colleges, Strayer University offers competitive and rigorous graduate and undergraduate degree programs, certificates and diplomas. The University recently welcomed two new deans to lead the College of Business and the College of Information Systems and Arts and Sciences.

Mary Carr, J.D., Dean, College of Business

As dean of the College of Business at Strayer University, Carr is committed to shaping the business leaders of tomorrow, navigating with innovation and vision. She provides an engaging and relevant educational experience for every student and delivers a rigorous business curriculum taught by industry-experienced faculty.

Carr holds a Juris Doctorate in health law studies from the St. Louis University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston College. She previously served as senior vice provost of faculty affairs and held several academic and operational leadership positions at Strayer University. Prior to joining the University, Carr was a practicing attorney in Boston and has more than a decade of corporate legal experience.

Dr. Nicole Morris, Dean, College of Information Systems and Arts and Sciences

As dean of the College of Information Systems and Arts and Sciences, Dr. Morris applies the power of engagement to elevate learning. Through continuous enhancements to curriculum, course content, delivery methods and communication tools, she helps to create an enriching, interactive student experience.

Dr. Morris earned a Doctor of Education in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in leadership from Austin Peay University. Dr. Morris held several academic roles at the University of Memphis prior to joining Strayer University, where she served as campus dean and then as senior vice provost.