Utah-Based Online University Takes Top Prize in Education Category Salt Lake City — 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. 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 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.