Skip to Content

Part of Western Governors University

May 22, 2021 2021 Spring Virtual Commencement

2021 Spring Virtual Commencement Ceremony Videos

Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker, Keynote Speaker

Jen Hatmaker is the New York Times bestselling author of For the Love and Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire, along with 12 other books. In addition to starring in the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV, Jen also hosts the award-winning For the Love podcast, is the curator of the Jen Hatmaker Book Club, and leader of a tightly knit, online community where she reaches millions each week. Jen is a co-founder of Legacy Collective, a giving community that grants millions of dollars toward sustainable projects around the world. She is a mom to five kids and lives happily just outside Austin, Texas, in a 1908 farmhouse with questionable plumbing.

Graduate speakers.

Adam Emmanuel P. Salvatierra
M.S. Nursing – Nursing Informatics
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Adam was born and raised in the Province of Leyte, Philippines, in a tight-knit family with whom he began to appreciate the important Filipino values of togetherness, humility, faith, and hard work. He attended Holy Trinity University, earning his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2008. Adam was also a member of the school’s Supreme Student Council. 

Adam Emmanuel P. Salvatierra

After graduating, Adam completed the Philippine Nursing Licensure Exam. Months later, he began his U.S. employment application by passing the Nursing Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It was one of the most difficult turning points in Adam’s early nursing career, yet he remained patient that his opportunity would come at the right time. 

In 2017, Adam migrated to the U.S. and started his first job as a medical-surgical nurse at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Adam’s dream of pursuing his master’s degree in nursing informatics eventually led him to his journey with WGU in the Spring of 2019. Completing his degree was achieved by working and studying amid the global pandemic, while also living alone, thousands of miles away from his home and family.

Earning his degree with WGU became his personal testimony of how humble beginnings can lead to dreams turning into reality when we stay resilient, focused, and inspired toward pursuing greater goals in life.

Kimberly Larsen
B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies
Mt. Vernon, WA

Kimberly (Kim) Larsen was born in Idaho and raised in Juneau, Alaska. She has spent most of her life in Washington State. As the second of seven children, Kim’s love for education began to grow as she found experiences to teach her siblings. That love for teaching carried on throughout high school and beyond. 

Kim Larsen

Just after graduating high school, Kim received the opportunity to substitute a kindergarten class for a month. Her college experience was interrupted by a year-and-a-half long mission to New Orleans. When she returned, her college experience was then put on hiatus due to funding and family situations. 

When Kim’s pursuit of an education degree in college was sidelined, she started working at a school for the deaf in Seattle where she served as an interpreter and instructional assistant. For 10 years, she continued teaching children while also serving as the student council advisor.  

Kim continued her journey as a sign language instructor for children and adults and as an interpreter for public schools. She became one of five certified Signing Exact English Interpreters in the state of Washington and taught hundreds of families, teachers, and bus drivers how to communicate with deaf children. 

Unfortunately, an accident ended Kim’s sign language career. This eventually led her to return to school, enrolling at WGU, where she was finally able to pursue her lifelong dream of teaching. Persevering through numerous physical challenges, she has accomplished her dream of being a teacher, earning her Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies degree.

Kim also has a love for nature. She has spent time exploring the mountains and glaciers of Alaska, climbed the third highest peak of the Tetons, and hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim. She uses these experiences to share her love of nature with the children around her.  

Anthem singer.

Jennifer Harrigan
M.S. Management and Leadership
Mahopac, NY

Jennifer Harrigan has been a Registered Nurse since receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the New York Institute of Technology in 2006.  

Her career advancement from a home health nurse case manager to her current role as a regional director of health and wellness impacted her decision to continue her educational journey with WGU’s College of Business, earning her Master of Science in Management and Leadership. Jennifer’s WGU journey was completed in 2 ½  years. She worked through her program while traveling to multiple states, assisting nursing teams through the pandemic.    

Music has always played a large role in Jennifer’s life. Growing up she was an avid flutist and vocalist participating in many local and state competitions. From a young age, Jennifer performed on local theater stages and has always liked the spotlight. She enjoys singing karaoke and performing acoustically. Jennifer reflects fondly on her last performance of the national anthem, which she performed after winning a competition to sing at her baccalaureate commencement.

Jennifer keeps busy with running her 11-year-old son to activities and sports and managing her handmade jewelry business. She attributes her education and career success to her perseverance, entrepreneurial spirit, and supportive family.

Jennifer Harrigan

Congratulations, Grads!