Western Governors University to Honor More than 4,000 Graduates at Semi-Annual Commencement

Jul 12, 2013, 12:27 ET from Western Governors University

Online university has graduated more than 25,000 students since its inception

SALT LAKE CITY, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Online Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, will host its 25th semi-annual commencement on Saturday, July 13, at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. This graduating class includes 4,173 bachelor's and master's graduates, surpassing a milestone of more than 25,000 graduates since the nonprofit university was established 16 years ago.

More than 575 graduates and more than 4,000 family members, friends, faculty and staff, are expected to attend the event, traveling to Salt Lake from 41 states, and one graduate on military assignment traveling from Germany to walk in the ceremony. While WGU students complete their degree program requirements online, WGU holds in-person commencement ceremonies twice per year. Students who are unable to attend the ceremony in person can watch via live stream on the WGU website.

Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corporation, will give the commencement address. Four student speakers will share their WGU stories at the ceremony: Kathleen Cadman, MSN—Education, from Ogden, Utah; Diana Rexroat Cardenas, B.S. Finance, from Phoenix, Arizona; Erica Martin-Cole, B.S. IT, from Bushkill, Pennsylvania; and Alex Sandoval, Jr., B.A. Special Education, from San Diego, California.

WGU will confer 2,587 undergraduate and 1,586 graduate degrees in four disciplines: business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU's online, competency-based model makes college possible for busy adults who must balance work, family, and financial obligations. It allows them to set their own study schedules and move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. While WGU's online degree programs are rigorous and challenging, students with work and family responsibilities can schedule their studies to fit their lives. As a result, the average time to complete a bachelor's degree is about three years.

For more information about WGU's 25th semi-annual commencement or to watch the event live, go to: http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/commencement_summer2013.  

About Western Governors University

Named one of  Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies 2013, WGU has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.  The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana was created by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011.  On August 3, 2011, the state of Texas created WGU Texas. On February 15, 2013, Governor Jay Nixon announced the establishment of WGU Missouri, and on July 9, 2013, Governor Bill Haslam launched WGU Tennessee. These state-based universities are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at www.wgu.edu or by calling 866.225.5948.

*Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791).

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SOURCE Western Governors University