“The 21st century is here, and YOU are the 21st century.”
With those words, Lumina Foundation for Education President Jamie Merisotis congratulated the 1,972 members of WGU’s graduating class of summer 2011 on Saturday, July 23 – the largest class in the online college’s history.
Merisotis was speaking to nearly 300 of those graduates, along with their family, friends, and supporters, at WGU’s Commencement in Salt Lake City’s EnergySolutions Arena. His keynote address reminded those in attendance – and the thousands viewing via live stream on the Internet – of the importance of an education.
"The degree you've just earned isn't just about you,” he said. “It benefits all of us as Americans."
It was a common theme – today more than ever, the nation and the world need highly educated innovators and workers to buoy the economy and build the future. Graduate Phyllis Maclin told her classmates, “This country needs your intellect. You must stay the course.”
The online degree programs at WGU enabled Maclin and her fellow student speakers – Jeff Solheim, Wynn Hall, and Bob McMillen – to achieve educational success when traditional schools were not an option. Listen to their stories by clicking on our 2011 Summer Commencement Ceremony page.