When 408 graduates of WGU’s 50-plus online degree programs gathered in Salt Lake City on July 14, 2012, with thousands of family and supporters to celebrate their graduation—and the graduation of their class of 3,235 people nationwide—they were making history.
Every six months, when the online university holds its commencement ceremonies, the graduating class sets records for its size. It also sets records for the number of people who travel from every corner of the country—and even around the world—to be part of the event.
But it’s not just their size that is historic. Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, a WGU founding governor and July’s commencement speaker, told the Class of Summer 2012 that their degrees represent something big in our ability to educate busy, working adults.
"You’re part of a historic movement in higher education," Governor Leavitt said.
Leavitt and two other founding governors—Roy Romer of Colorado and Jim Geringer of Wyoming—took their turns addressing the beaming audience of graduates and loved ones, as did former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, a single dad earning his marketing degree, a surgeon and Ph.D. earning his healthcare MBA, an L.A. nurse originally from the Philippines earning her BSN, and a former circus-clown-turned-teacher earning her bachelor’s degree in special education.
Watch Governor Leavitt’s address and the graduates’ speeches here. You can view all the addresses—as well as the full commencement ceremony—on this YouTube playlist.