News Brief - 7/13/17 July 15 commencement ceremony will cap the online, competency-based university's 20th anniversary celebration SALT LAKE CITY Western Governors University (WGU) will recognize more than 10,000 graduates at the university's 33rd semi-annual commencement ceremony on July 15 at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. The ceremony, which will be streamed live online will begin at 9:45 a.m., MDT. While all WGU graduates earned their degrees online, more than 1,000 bachelor's and master's degree graduates from 47 states and the District of Columbia, along with nearly 8,000 family members, friends, faculty, and staff, will attend commencement in person. Clayton M. Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Founder of The Christensen Institute, will deliver the commencement address. In addition, two recent graduates will share their stories: Kristen Gibson, MBA from Oakland Park, Florida; and Erin Bishop, B.A. Special Education (K-12) and M.Ed. Instructional Design from South Weber, Utah. During Saturday's ceremony, WGU will recognize 6,348 undergraduate and 4,140 graduate degrees in business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. For graduates, faculty, and staff who are unable attend the ceremony in person, the entire program will be broadcast live via streaming video at www.wgu.edu/wgu/commencement_summer2017. Since WGU's founding in 1997, the online, competency-based university has awarded more than 87,000 degrees; 20,000 of them in just the past year. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, WGU's competency-based learning model makes it possible for students to fit studying into their busy lives. Students complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter, enabling them to move quickly through material they already know and spend more time on focusing 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 about two and half years.