Tomorrow, deeply held goals and dreams will become hard-earned reality for the largest graduating class in WGU history, as we confer nearly 2,000 degrees at our 21st semi-annual commencement ceremony at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah – the most yet in our 12 years as an online university.
Here are some stats about this graduating class:
- 1,972 graduates will earn 1,201 bachelor’s degrees and 771 graduate degrees.
- The average graduate age is 38, though the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 70.
- Nearly 300 graduates from 36 states will join friends, family, and fellow students to celebrate commencement in Salt Lake City. Thousands more will watch the commencement ceremony live online, beginning at 9:40 a.m. MDT.
- 39% of the class are first-generation college graduates.
Meet some of the summer 2011 class:
Wynn Hall is from Phoenix, Arizona, and is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Science (Biology). Having spent nearly 11 years trying to finish her degree, she found it difficult to balance life, work, and family obligations while attending school. During her last nine months at WGU, she experienced three life-threatening surgeries—including brain surgery. Despite her medical obstacles, the mother of six managed to complete two years of coursework while maintaining 100% satisfactory academic progress. Wynn plans to use her degree to make a difference in young lives by teaching high school biology.
Jeff Solheim is from Keizer, Oregon, and graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing Education. Jeff is a lymphatic cancer survivor and is the founder of a humanitarian medical organization called Project Helping Hands. His organization has reached over 50,000 underserved people in over ten countries on four different continents. A former nurse and hospital administrator, Jeff was able to accelerate his time to degree completion while continuing to grow his humanitarian organization, author books, and engage in speaking opportunities around the world.
Phyllis Maclin is from Paducah, Kentucky, and graduated with an MBA in Strategy and Management. An accomplished housing and construction professional with over 20 years of experience in business, Phyllis currently serves as Vice President of Paducah Housing Services, Inc., where she oversees daily operations for the nonprofit housing agency. Under her leadership, Paducah Housing Services was awarded the 2009 Fair Housing Award for Equal Housing and has received Home Depot Foundation grants for their work in assisting low-income families secure affordable housing. Since earning her degree, Phyllis has been able to implement leadership strategies based on competencies from her program at WGU.
Bob McMillen graduated from WGU with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Networks Administration. He is from Beaverton, Oregon, where he owns and operates his own network consulting firm. With 15 years of experience in network engineering and over 35 technical certifications, the father of three worked his way up the corporate ladder despite not having a formal degree. Bob was able to accelerate the time to degree completion—just 8 months—while supporting his family and continuing to grow his successful business.
You can hear these graduates speak, along with Lumina Foundation for Education President and CEO Jamie Merisotis, via live-streaming video Saturday, July 23, beginning at 9:40 a.m. MDT.
Tell us your WGU story, whether you’re graduating with the summer 2011 class, you’re already an alum, or you have future graduation goals. Tweet us using hashtag #WGUgrad, or leave your comments below.