LAS VEGAS — Impressed with the experiences she had as elementary school student, Blanca Martinez has always wanted to give back and become a teacher herself. Today, with her degree in hand, and the knowledge and skills she learned as a WGU student in mind, she is preparing lesson plans for her own second grade class in North Las Vegas. Along with three other Western Governors University (WGU) graduates, Blanca will share her story tomorrow when WGU holds its 66th commencement, in Las Vegas.
Although they earned their degrees online, more than 1,500 graduates from 47 states, the District of Columbia, military installations overseas, and Canada will participate in the ceremonies. Commencement for master’s degree recipients will begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT, with the bachelor’s ceremony following at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Both ceremonies will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center, but for those graduates, faculty, and staff who are unable attend the ceremony in person, the entire program will be streamed live at www.wgu.edu/wgu/commencement_lasvegas2018.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval will give the master’s ceremony commencement address, and Helen Thayer, an explorer and founder of Adventure Classroom, will give the bachelor’s ceremony commencement address. Graduate speakers include: Blanca Martinez, M.A. Teaching, Elementary Education from North Las Vegas, Nevada; Gregg Moretti, M.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance from Lyman, Wyoming; Jerlenny Perez, B.S. Nursing from Bronxville, New York; and Amanda Chavez, B.S. Business Management from Clovis, California.
During Saturday’s ceremonies, WGU will recognize 6,932 undergraduate and 5,073 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees since January 1, 2018, including 292 graduates of WGU Nevada. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was 2 years, 4 months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months. The average age for those graduating is 38 years old.
WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They 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 what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.