News Brief - 7/11/14 Online university has produced more than 36,000 graduates since its founding in 1997 SALT LAKE CITY — Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, will recognize 5,541 graduates at its 27th semi-annual commencement on Saturday, July 12, at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, at 9:45 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Nearly 850 graduates and 5,700 family members, friends, faculty, and staff are expected to travel from 45 states to attend the event. While WGU students complete their degree program requirements online, WGU holds in-person commencement ceremonies twice a year. Students who are unable to attend the ceremony in person can participate via a live stream on the WGU website. Ted Mitchell, U.S. Under Secretary of Education, will deliver the commencement address. Four student speakers also will share their WGU stories at the ceremony: Jenny Bascos, MSN—Leadership and Management, from Riverside, California; Patricia Bliss Knight, MBA—Management and Strategy, from Prescott, Arizona; Kara Nelson, B.A. Special Education, from Rexburg, Idaho; and Jeffrey Rahmlow, B.S. Information Technology—Network Administration, from Two Rivers, Wisconsin. During Saturday’s convocation ceremonies, WGU will confer 3,085 undergraduate and 2,456 graduate degrees in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU’s online, competency-based model allows for busy adults to earn their degrees without sacrificing work, family, and financial obligations. Students 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, finishing faster and saving money—the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree is less than three years.