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Summer Commencement, 7/8/09

Graduates from 30 States to Assemble in Salt Lake City on July 11 to Receive Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees Earned Online

Salt Lake City, Utah — Western Governors University (WGU) will award 891 bachelor’s and master’s degrees to graduating students from all over the United States during its semi-annual commencement, which will be held on Saturday, July 11, at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. Although WGU students earn their degrees entirely online, nearly 130 graduates will participate in the ceremony on Saturday, some traveling from as far away as Florida and Hawaii.

Dr. Samuel H. Smith, president emeritus of Washington State University, will deliver the commencement address. A founding member of WGU’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Smith served as president of Washington State University for 15 years. During his tenure, the university received international recognition for increasing educational opportunities for women and minorities.

Amid nationwide reports of climbing college costs, degree program reductions, and enrollment caps, Western Governors University continues to buck the trend. Enrollment, which is open to all qualified students, has soared to more than 14,000 since WGU accepted its first student in 1999. In contrast to other online universities, tuition is comparable to a state college at about $6,000 per year and has only increased $100 per term in the past 4 years. WGU’s mentor-guided, competency-based academic model allows students to utilize relevant prior education and experience to accelerate completion of their degrees by devoting more time to their studies, which can also help save on tuition. WGU’s affordability and accessibility, combined with more than 50 accredited bachelor’s and master's degree programs in high-demand fields such as education, business, information technology, and healthcare, make it a good value in higher education, even in recessionary times.

WGU’s Summer 2009 Commencement is the 17th for the online university founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors. The graduating class for this six-month period is the largest to date, with 514 undergraduate and 377 graduate degrees awarded. For graduates who are not able to attend in person, WGU will broadcast the ceremony live over the Internet via streaming video beginning at 9:45 a.m. on July 11. For more information, go to

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