Before the end of their commencement ceremony, the graduates of WGU's winter class of 2012 already had their first tentative job offer.
"If you're interested in finding out about what HCA has to offer, feel free to email me directly," Steele said. "Just to make sure that I won't lose you in the mix of all those emails that come in, put in the subject line, 'WGU rocks!'"
Steele, the Vice President of Human Resources for HCA, the nation's largest provider of healthcare, was the keynote speaker at online university WGU's February 11, 2012, commencement ceremony at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
"I can't promise you a job, but I promise you will receive real and serious consideration for the positions that we have open based on the success of your accomplishment here at WGU," Steele said.
Steele's rousing, funny speech entertained the crowd of more than 2,200 and set the stage for a moving, inspiring commencement—WGU's largest yet, celebrating more than 2,600 graduates, a record-setting 350 of whom were in attendance in Atlanta.
Check out the YouTube playlist to see Steele and graduates Carlisha Moore, Karen Marchand-Singleton, Keith Sosebee, and Julie Laub's addresses to their class, family, loved ones, and supporters:
HCA employs more than 300 currently enrolled WGU students and some 75 WGU graduates. These employees come from WGU's online Health Professions, Business, and Information Technology colleges. The first graduate of WGU's online MBA—Healthcare Management program was an HCA employee.
"This is such a remarkable institution—the fact that 19 governors . . . got together over 15 years ago and put together a new model for education, one that didn't have all the normal trappings that we're used to: no buildings, no credit hours, no prerequisites," Steele said. "Even today it sounds like it wouldn't work. And then top it off—make it affordable! What a brilliant idea. And the success sits before me today."'