News Release: Kanter to Speak at WGU Commencement, 7/14/10

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News Brief - 7/14/10

U.S. Under Secretary of Education to Address WGU Commencement July 17

Western Governors University to award more than 1,275 degrees at 2010 summer commencement

Salt Lake City — Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter will deliver the commencement address at Western Governors University’s semi-annual commencement on July 17 at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. The non-profit, online university will confer 1,279 undergraduate and graduate degrees to students based in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as many who are stationed overseas on military assignments. While more than 200 students will attend the ceremony in person, traveling from as far away as Puerto Rico to receive their diplomas, graduates may also attend the ceremony online through the university’s website.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert will introduce Under Secretary Kanter, who oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid for the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Kanter, who has served as chancellor for one of the largest community college districts in the country, is an advocate for providing more affordable and accessible higher education opportunities. Nominated and confirmed to her post last year, she reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

This is the 19th commencement for WGU, which was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors. The graduating class for this 6-month period is the largest to date, with 714 undergraduate and 565 graduate degrees awarded. Commencement, which will be held at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 Presidents Circle in Salt Lake City, will begin at 10:00 a.m. (MDT). Graduates and others not able to attend in person can “attend” the ceremony live over the Internet via streaming video beginning at 9:45 a.m. (MDT) on July 17. For more information, go to http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/graduation_july10.

WGU’s 2010 Summer Commencement marks the completion of a year of accomplishment for the nation’s only competency-based university. Since July 1, 2009, more than 2,260 students have graduated from WGU, receiving bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate, and master’s degrees in Business, Teacher Education, Information Technology, and Healthcare Professions, including Nursing. Enrollment has grown from approximately 14,000 a year ago to nearly 20,000 today. The university offers over 50 fully accredited degree programs, all competency-based and online, designed to provide opportunities for affordable, accessible higher education to working adults. WGU’s tuition is affordable, less than $6,000 per year for most programs, and the university offers a number of scholarships—more than $3.5 million in scholarships were awarded in the past year.