COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women is gearing up for its first ever August graduation, which will feature keynote speaker Kaye Bender, president and chief executive officer of the Public Health Accreditation Board.


Approximately 150 participants are expected to walk in the university’s Saturday, Aug. 2 commencement, which will include 422 candidates for degree. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Rent Auditorium.

Traditionally, The W has commencement in May and December. A third ceremony was added in August due to space constraints so graduates could share their accomplishments with family and friends. 

Bender, who has more than 26 years of experience in public health practice and administration, has been with the PHAB since 2009. Before joining PHAB, she worked in both local and state public health practice in the Mississippi State Department of Health. Her last position there was for 12 years as deputy state health officer.

She served as dean of the University of Mississippi Medical School of Nursing and associate vice chancellor for nursing for six years. She is still a professor on that campus and teaches three graduate/doctoral online courses per year for both the School of Nursing and the School of Health Related Professions.

Dr. Bender chaired the Exploring Accreditation Steering Committee, the precursor study for the establishment of the (PHAB), funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Public Health Accreditation Board is the national accrediting body for state, local, tribal and territorial health departments in the United States.

The Alexandria, Va., resident has served on three Institute of Medicine study committees related to public health and an IOM standing committee on credentialing research in nursing. She also serves on the National Board of Public Health Examiners; is an active member of the American Public Health Association and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, where she chairs the Fellow Selection Committee. She was inducted into the Mississippi Nurses Hall of Fame in 2013.

She has numerous publications related to governmental public health systems improvement and has received a number of awards and recognitions both in nursing and in public health.

July 25, 2014
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
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