Part of Western Governors University
WGU is pleased to announce a virtual commencement for our graduates who were planning to participate in commencement weekend in Charlotte. While we are sad to cancel commencements due to COVID-19, this ceremony offers another option to celebrate these graduates and their accomplishments. Please note, graduates who participate in a virtual commencement may still join us for an in-person commencement in the future.
Our first virtual commencement, taking place Saturday, May 30, will honor these graduates. With this option, graduates may celebrate at their convenience with friends and family by either watching live or by scheduling their own commencement watch party. Virtual commencement will also be offered to graduates who planned to participate in recently canceled commencements in Anaheim and Seattle. Stay tuned for more information.
Master of Science, Management and Leadership
Fresh out of college at age 22, Sharon Test found herself working in banking—which had not been her field of study. But she always had great networking skills and perseverance, which allowed her to quickly climb the corporate ladder.
Knowing she wanted to land a management role, she enrolled in WGU’s M.S. Management and Leadership program to gain the skills she needed for leadership.
Today, Sharon is the Vice President at Citi. She completed her degree while wearing many different hats: full-time worker, mother of two, wife, friend, and a leader of her dragon boat racing team. But Sharon’s journey didn’t stop there. Upon completing her MSML degree, she re-enrolled at WGU and completed her MBA.
Master of Science, Nursing—Leadership and Management (BSN to MSN)
A diagnosis of breast cancer derailed LeighAnn Brooks’ plans to go back to school and get her bachelor’s degree in nursing. But after several surgeries and numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she was declared cancer-free.
This gave her a new perspective on life—she was a survivor.
After returning to work, LeighAnn was promoted to the lead position within her department and was encouraged to complete her degree. So, she enrolled at WGU to finally earn her BSN. She finished the degree program in just two terms, but in her mind, she was not finished. LeighAnn came back to WGU to earn her master’s degree in nursing, all while juggling life as a mother and a full-time diabetes educator. She credits her mentors for her success in her programs.
Bachelor of Science, Human Resource Management
Sparrkyl Butler spent nearly 20 years trying to finish her degree; however, something always seemed to set her back or get in the way of accomplishing her goal. Between three hospitalizations, raising five children and losing one of them, and divorce, she wanted to quit.
Instead, she used this as motivation and wanted her children to watch their mother succeed. With a little help and a lot of perseverance, Sparrkyl finally completed her bachelor’s degree despite all the obstacles laid in front of her, and she is now working as Team Lead for Financial Clearance Analysts at Steward Health Care.
Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies (K–8)
Miranda Joseph always dreamed of earning her bachelor’s degree and becoming a teacher. Caribbean-born and raised, opportunities in the islands were scarce, and she was miserable at community college.
So, 20 years ago, Miranda decided to leave her home and family behind to come to the United States and chase her dream.
After teaching as a Montessori school teacher, Miranda decided to finally try school again. But even more obstacles got in the way as she began her WGU journey. Throughout her program, Miranda’s home was threatened with foreclosure, and her husband suffered three stokes before ultimately passing away just a few weeks ago. Despite all the heartbreak she endured, she pushed on to make her dream come true and earn her bachelor’s degree, and is proud to be sharing her story in honor of her husband. Today, Miranda is working as an elementary school teacher in North Carolina.
Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies (K–8)
Vincent Lawyer’s singing career began with his church choir and at a local community theater. He later joined the Army, where he spent nearly 20 years in the band program, travelling to play in places such as Nome, Alaska, and Uzbekistan.
Vincent wanted to be a teacher after he retired from the Army but knew that a traditional school would not be able to accommodate his busy military schedule, so he decided to enroll at WGU. Vincent currently lives in Columbus, Georgia, with his wife and their three children.
WGU’s virtual commencement is an opportunity to honor graduates who planned to participate in a scheduled commencement this year, but was canceled due to COVID-19. Please note, participating in virtual commencement does not replace a graduate’s option to walk in an in-person commencement in the future.
The virtual commencement program consists of a keynote address, graduate speeches, and the conferral of degrees (reading of names). Graduates are invited to participate live or on their own time.
The link to watch virtual commencement is www.wgu.edu/virtual.
No. The virtual commencement will be posted at www.wgu.edu/virtual and be available for viewing also on WGU Facebook and YouTube for viewing at your leisure.
Each graduate’s name will be read, while the degree will be displayed on screen.
No, graduates and guests will be able to view commencement content (e.g. graduate speeches and conferral of degrees) by selecting master’s or bachelor’s ceremony.
No. The commencement will be organized by segments (e.g. welcome and opening remarks, anthem singer, graduate speeches, keynote speaker, reading of graduate names), allowing graduates to select which content they view.
Graduates who attend a virtual commencement because of a canceled commencement are welcome to attend an in-person ceremony as well, once per degree earned.
After the invitation email is sent, a graduate will have seven days to register for virtual commencement.
Graduates are not required to wear regalia in their virtual commencement clip. Business professional attire is encouraged if graduates do not have regalia.
We encourage you to wear a cap and gown, but this is not required to participate in virtual commencement. If you choose not to wear regalia or do not have regalia, business professional attire is encouraged.
All graduates who participate in virtual commencement will receive a complimentary diploma cover via mail.