Four Outstanding Graduates from the Class of Winter 2015

WGU's 53,000-member student body and nearly 45,000-graduate alumni community is full of amazing, inspiring stories—roughly 100,000 of them, actually—and with students enrolling at the start of every month and graduating every day, the stories just keep stacking up.

We love hearing these stories all year long, but for a student-centered university like WGU, there's no time like commencement!

That's when four of those amazing stories get a little extra-special attention as we select four graduates to represent their class as speakers.

Winter 2015 Commencement will be held in Orlando, Florida, on February 7. You can watch the ceremony live online starting at 9:45 a.m.—and right now, you can get a sneak peek by meeting the commencement speakers right here!

Earlier, we introduced you to Shanna Wright, the graduate who will be singing the National Anthem at commencement, so be sure to read her story if you haven't already.

Dale Boolton
West Chester, Ohio

Commencement Speaker Dale Boolton

The traditional college student will begin their studies right out of high school and graduate four years later with little work experience behind them. Dale Boolton was not that student.

Having dropped out of college twice, a college degree did not seem plausible to Dale or his family. Instead, Dale "ran away with the circus," working security for Cirque du Soleil. He worked construction and food service but found himself broke. After landing a job in finance and working his way up, Dale found himself jobless again with the realization that he needed a college degree.

Twenty-seven years since his first day of college, Dale will now walk the stage with a B.S. in Business Management.

Lissete Rico
Lehigh Acres, Florida

Commencement Speaker Lissete Rico

This degree did not come easy for Lissete Rico.

Due to violence, Lissete dropped out of high school during her junior year. While her peers were beginning their senior year, she was a freshman at a local college with dreams of obtaining a university degree. After she completed her associate's, life took a turn when Lissete met the love of her life and was married. Education and her dream of becoming a teacher took a back seat until she found WGU.

WGU made it possible for Lissete, a mother of two, to care for her children while achieving her educational dreams.

Determined not to be a statistic but an exception, Lissete graduated with her B.A. in Special Education and now an M.A. in English Language Learning through WGU.

Cindy Krupinski
Livonia, Michigan

Commencement Speaker Cindy Krupinski

Cindy's journey toward her B.S. in Business—IT Management degree began in 1994 when she started her associate's degree in finance. It took her 20 years to finish her A.A. As a single parent of three children, working full time and having just survived cancer, she did not think it possible to go back to school with no support or financial help. Within a few months of beginning her journey at WGU, Cindy received a promotion at her current job at Aetna, which about six months prior she had attempted with no success.

Now, she has become the first woman in her family to achieve a bachelor's degree.

Cindy says she has gained confidence, knowledge, optimism of a brighter future and pride in who she is.

Bryon Denton
Danville, Illinois

Commencement Speaker Bryon Denton

As a child, Bryon was born with undiagnosed hearing and vision issues, causing doctors and teachers to believe he had a developmental learning disability and would never be able to succeed in school.

At age 21, he adopted his son, who has special needs and was a patient of Bryon's, as a single parent. Now, he has his MSN—Education, fulfilling a lifelong dream of teaching others with the same degree of compassion he carries when treating his patients.

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