Grand Canyon University held its 2011 graduation exercises at Chase Field last Friday, bestowing more than 8,000 baccalaureate, master and doctoral-level degrees upon students representing both the University's traditional campus and online communities.
"This is an exciting day as we prepare these graduates to continue on their life paths," said GCU President Kathy Player.
More than 75 percent of the graduates received degrees in education and healthcare. With an audience of approximately 20,000, the commencement was the largest that GCU has hosted.
"Walking through graduation is a pivotal moment in one's personal and professional growth, and our students come from all over the country, often bringing their extended family and friends, to share in what they've accomplished," Player said.
Of the 8,159 degrees, nearly half were in the College of Education with 3,872 graduates, followed by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences with 2,301 degrees. The Ken Blanchard College of Business had 1,465 graduates and the College of Liberal Arts had 510 graduates. The University's College of Doctoral Studies was represented for the first time with its class of 10 graduates, and the College of Fine Arts and Production, which just returned to the campus in 2010, graduated one student.
Nearly 50 percent of GCU's students are graduate level. Most of those attending the ceremonies came from outside the metro area to attend individual college convocation ceremonies as well as graduation.
GCU is one of the few universities in the country that successfully marries a strong, traditional campus student community with an online curriculum that enables both campus students and working professionals to complete their degrees.