ATLANTA — Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, will host its 26th semi-annual commencement on Saturday, February 8 at the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta, at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time. The graduating class includes 5,585 bachelor’s and master’s graduates, helping the university surpass its milestone of more than 30,000 graduates since the nonprofit university enrolled its first student in 1999. More than 500 graduates and more than 3,500 family members, friends, faculty, and staff are expected to attend the event, traveling to Atlanta from at least 46 states. 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 a live stream on the WGU website. Frank Alvarez, former CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will give the commencement address. Four speakers will share their WGU stories at the ceremony: Crystal Howard, MSN—Leadership and Management, from Zuni, New Mexico; Merit Sowards, B.S. Health informatics, from Bradenton, Florida; Marvin Perkins, B.S. Business Management, from Santa Clarita, California; and Tracy Anderson, B.A. Special Education, from Petersburg, Virginia. WGU will confer 3,306 undergraduate and 2,279 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. As a result, many students are able to accelerate their studies—the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree is less than three years. For more information about WGU’s 26th semi-annual commencement, or to watch the event live, go to http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/commencement_winter2014.