Western Governors University Wins Utah Best of State Award for Education

Jun 03, 2010, 12:30 ET from Western Governors University

Utah-Based Online University Takes Top Prize in Education Category

SALT LAKE CITY, June 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just eleven years after it enrolled its first student, Salt Lake City-based Western Governors University (www.wgu.edu) has been named Utah's Best of State in Education for 2010. The only competency-based university in the U.S., non-profit WGU has more than 19,000 students in all 50 states and more than 900 employees, approximately 566 of them based in Utah.

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Presented annually, the Best of State Awards were created to recognize outstanding organizations and businesses in Utah. Nominations are reviewed by more than 100 judges and are evaluated based on three areas: achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation, and contribution to improving the quality of life in Utah.

Accepting the award at the annual Best of State Gala on May 29, WGU's Patrick Partridge said, "This award recognizes WGU's vision of making higher education more accessible to everyone, not just in Utah, but throughout the country. It is something that our WGU staff as well as the state of Utah can be truly proud of."

Founded in 1997 by 19 western governors including former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, WGU offers 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in high-demand career fields such as teacher education, business, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU is fully accredited and has been recognized for its quality by the U.S. Distance Learning Association. The university's president, Dr. Robert Mendenhall, was named 2010 CEO of the Year by Utah Business Magazine.

About Western Governors University (WGU)

"[WGU is] the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of."– TIME magazine

Recently featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering competency-based degree programs and the only non-profit, fully online university in the country.

As a non-profit with a mission to make higher education accessible, WGU strives to keep tuition affordable—tuition for most undergraduate and graduate programs is less than $6,000 per year and has increased less than $200 in the past four years. WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, and does not rely on state or national support to fund its operations.  

WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). WGU nursing programs have been accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

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


Joan Mitchell



SOURCE Western Governors University