WGU Missouri To Recognize Nearly 200 Graduates at Commencement on June 27
Commencement keynote address to be given by Lynn Britton, President and CEO of Mercy
Jun 26, 2015, 09:00 ET
ST. LOUIS, June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just two years since its inception, nonprofit online university WGU Missouri is ready to celebrate 198 graduates at its second commencement on Saturday, June 27, which will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis.
This graduating class brings the total number of Missourians who have earned degrees from the competency-based university to 676. And with a current enrolled student body of nearly 1,600, which is a 50 percent increase in less than a year, WGU Missouri is on track to add more graduates to the Missouri workforce. This demand is why the state created WGU Missouri in partnership with Western Governors University in February 2013.
Lynn Britton, President and CEO of Mercy, will deliver the commencement address to the 63 graduates set to participate in the ceremony and the roughly 425 family members and friends who will travel from throughout the state to show their support. WGU Missouri and Mercy have a partnership that provides a tuition discount to Mercy's employees pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at the university. The 5th largest Catholic health care system in the U.S., Mercy operates 46 acute care and specialty hospitals across the Midwest, and many of its employees are current students or alumni of WGU Missouri.
"I am so pleased to be a part of WGU's second commencement ceremony," said Britton. "More than 1,500 Missourians are already benefiting from the university's flexible degree programs, and their skills, energy, and newly-acquired education are much needed across the state."
During the ceremony, Britton will be joined by three graduating students who will share stories of their educational journey with WGU Missouri. Student speakers include: Frank Noto, M.S. Information Technology Management, from O'Fallon; Kimberly Baker, M.S. Nursing Leadership and Management, from Independence; and Lesli Roy, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies, from Webb City.
"We are delighted to honor these graduates as they celebrate this important milestone to advance their careers and build better lives for their families," said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor of WGU Missouri. "There are approximately 750,000 adults in Missouri with some college but no degree, and these graduates illustrate the achievement that is possible with WGU Missouri's flexible, competency-based model."
WGU Missouri Commencement by the Numbers:
- WGU Missouri graduates represent nearly 100 cities across the state.
- 110 undergraduate and 92 graduate degrees are being conferred.
- The average age of the graduates is 39; the youngest grad is 20; the oldest is 66.
- 88 percent of the graduates are over the age of 27.
- 42 percent of the graduates represent the first generation in their family to complete college.
- Degree distribution by college:
- College of Business – 54
- College of Health Professions and Nursing – 68
- College of Information Technology – 25
- Teachers College – 55
About WGU Missouri
WGU Missouri is an online, competency-based university created to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU Missouri faculty members serve as mentors, working one-on-one with students, offering guidance, support, and individualized instruction.
Established in 2013 through a partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Missouri is open to all qualified Missouri residents. The university is nonprofit and self-sustaining on flat-rate tuition of about $6,000 per year for most programs.
Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*).
More information is available at missouri.wgu.edu or by calling 855.948.8493.
*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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