Kaplan University celebrated the graduation of its summer 2010 class during a live ceremony on Aug. 7 in Chicago.

Harold Ford Jr., a former U.S. Representative who President Bill Clinton once described as "the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century," served as the keynote speaker. The following students from Corpus Christi were awarded degrees:

Louie Florez was awarded an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice; Katie Fry was awarded an Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies; Rhonda Jackson was awarded a Bachelor in Business Administration; Sherisse Reed was awarded an Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies; Simon Rios was awarded a Master of Science in Management.

"Graduates like you must use your education and skill set to make this a stronger, more vibrant and dynamic nation," Ford told the approximately 730 graduates in attendance. "It takes courage and determination to improve your own life and the lives of those around you."

The Kaplan University summer 2010 class, which included more than 4,200 graduates, earned associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees - as well as professional certificates - completely online.

Many of them traveled from around the country and the world to attend the ceremony, meeting face-to-face for the first time.