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Graceland Announces Dr. Matthew Naylor as Spring Commencement Speaker


Press Release

April 20, 2022 | Georgia Seagraves

Matthew Naylor, PhD, will address Graceland’s Spring 2022 graduates at its commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 1 in Lamoni, Iowa. Naylor is the President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. Since assuming the post in 2013, the museum and memorial has broken records for attendance, increasing by more than 60%  

Dr. Naylor is a tested leader whose bold vision for his organization helped it grow and thrive through the pandemic,” said Graceland President Patricia H. Draves, PhD. “I am thrilled to welcome him to Lamoni to inspire our graduates as they take their next steps in their lives, whether into a meaningful career or to pursue further academic studies. Dr. Naylor’s experience is one that we can all learn from.”

Under Naylor’s leadership, a bipartisan effort in Congress formally established the institution as America’s National WWI Museum. He was subsequently appointed as Commissioner to the United States World War I Centennial Commission and was named Nonprofit PRO’s Executive of the Year in 2018. Naylor helped the Museum and Memorial successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and retain all staff while cultural arts organizations across the world laid off or furloughed thousands of employees. He led a reform of the organization into new teams, dramatically amplified the Museum and Memorial’s online educational presence, and expanded its online database of searchable artifacts. 

Naylor earned his PhD from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He serves on boards and committees for several civic and educational initiatives, including the advisory council for the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation, the advisory board for the National Stars and Stripes Museum, and the board of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy. 

Graceland welcomes Dr. Naylor to Lamoni to share his wisdom with this year’s graduates.  

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