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More Than 650 Grads Set to Cross the Stage at Bellevue University's 2023 Spring Commencement

On Saturday, June 3, more than 650 Bellevue University students are expected to cross the stage at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to receive their diplomas at the University’s 2023 spring commencement ceremony. 

Among the graduates will be Lesley Daniel, student speaker, who has earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies degree. Lesley, a working adult learner, a mother and a grandmother, is a testament to having the courage to begin again on her education and succeed. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Lesley worked for Northwest Airlines for nearly a decade before transitioning to Ohio, where she currently lives and works as a Fraud Supervisor for JP Morgan Chase. Lesley credits her daughters and her mother and aunts for supporting her dream of earning her degree.

“The individual aspirations that our students have and that Bellevue University enables are truly remarkable,” said University President Dr. Mary Hawkins. “The students we serve best are those who, like Lesley, have invested in themselves and are motivated to succeed at the next level.”

The commencement ceremony, which begins at 9:10 a.m. with the procession of graduates and the program starting at 9:30 a.m., will also feature Joan Squires, President of Omaha Performing Arts, or O-pa. O-pa is the largest arts institution in Nebraska and each year hosts 500-plus events, ranging from concerts to touring Broadway shows, family shows and more. O-pa's activities generate $48 million in annual economic impact for the state each year. 

Fifteen students will also receive their doctoral degrees in a separate hooding ceremony held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the John B. Muller Administrative Services Building located on the campus of Bellevue University. Dr. Kyle Payne, who has earned his Ph.D. in Human Capital Management degree, will be the student speaker at the doctoral hooding ceremony.

According to University Registrar Colette Lewis, the University conferred 674 degrees from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2023. This includes 430 undergraduate degrees, 234 graduate degrees and 10 doctoral degrees. Bellevue University now has more than 60,000 graduates worldwide.

The University will stream the commencement ceremony live so those who cannot attend have an opportunity to see students receive their diplomas. 

About Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University is a non-profit university with more than 60,000 graduates worldwide. The University is a recognized national leader in preparing students for lifelong success with career-relevant knowledge and skills, while making college affordable. Routinely ranked among the nation’s top military and accessible institutions, the University serves residential students at its main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska, and everywhere online with more than 80 degree programs uniquely designed for working adults. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (