CORVALLIS, Ore. -- More than 200 Extended Campus students from around the world graduated this year from Oregon State University, a record number that reflects the continued growth in Ecampus and the demand for online courses and OSU programs.
"Online education and its ability to meet the educational needs of contemporary students is a growing success," said Scott Reed, vice provost for outreach and engagement at OSU. "Our graduates increasingly demonstrate that education can happen anywhere, not just in a university classroom."
The top three undergraduate degrees for the class of 2010 were liberal studies, 75; natural resources, 46; and environmental science, 29. This year's graduating class includes students from 35 states and six countries - the furthest away being in Singapore. Ecampus is now delivering more than 700 accredited OSU courses via the web, video/DVD, and other technologies.
More than 40 of the new graduates traveled from as far away as Massachusetts for a reception and to attend graduation. For most, this was their first visit to the OSU campus.
Dave King, associate provost of Ecampus, said that "the stories of our Ecampus students are always fascinating to me."
"You can imagine the extra effort most people have to put in when they are working full time, caring for others or whatever keeps them place-bound," King said. "Giving them an opportunity to continue, and in the case of our graduates actually finish this part of their education, is very rewarding."
William Bradford and Shannon Sims were among the graduates to attend.
Bradford, a graduate from Cambridge, Mass., received his bachelor's degree in liberal studies, an accomplishment that at one point he did not think he would live to see. In 2005 he was in a serious accident that required 32 surgeries and years of painful recovery. For him, an online education was his only answer to finally receive the degree he had started nearly 20 years earlier. And he now plans to continue his education, pursuing a master of divinity degree at Harvard University.
"Ecampus is a great way to gain access to an education that may be physically and geographically impossible," Bradford said. "In addition, the psychological benefit of taking classes was enormous. It allowed me to focus on something other than my own pain and recovery."
Shannon Sims, a graduate with a master's degree in adult education, wondered how she could obtain her degree while working a full-time job during the day, and coming home to her family at night. Situations like this lead many students to pursue their education online instead of the traditional classroom setting.
"I am a full-time faculty member at Rogue Community College, as well as a wife and mother to a very busy 10-year-old son," said Sims. "It would have been impossible to get my master's degree any other way. And completing my master's in adult education has made me a leader in my organization. I apply the concepts I've learned in this program to my work every single day. It also opens many doors for me in the world of human resources and organizational education."
More information about Ecampus undergraduate, graduate and professional programs can be obtained by calling (800) 667-1465, or online at ecampus.oregonstate.edu.
Among the graduates this year from OSU Ecampus were:
Editor's Note: Student's whose names are marked with an asterisk* have more detailed information about them and a photo available online, at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/about/learn-more/students/graduation2010/default.htm
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Dave King, 541-737-3810