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September 14, 2018

Graduates from 45 States to Participate in WGU Regional Commencement in Washington, D.C. on Saturday

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (September 14, 2018) Nearly 750 graduates from 45 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and military instillations overseas will gather on Saturday in Washington, D.C. to celebrate at Western Governors University’s (WGU) 68th commencement. The master’s ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the bachelor’s ceremony will follow at 1:15 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held at DAR Constitution Hall, but for those graduates, families, and faculty who are unable to attend, the entire program will be streamed live at  

Karla Ortiz Flores from Chicago, Illinois, is one of four graduates who will speak at the commencement. Flores will share her journey of earning her master’s degree while coordinating aid efforts, including shipping water and distributing emergency funding to her family who was dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Ted Mitchell, President of the American Council on Education, will give the commencement address. Joining him will be graduate speakers Danielle Smith, B.S. Information Technology Management from Yonkers, NY; Nicole Ibarra-Vogel, B.A. Special Education from Ashburn, VA; Jacqueline Becerra, M.S. Nursing - Leadership and Management from San Antonio, TX; and Karla Ortiz Flores, M.S. Management and Leadership from Chicago, IL.

During Saturday’s ceremonies, WGU will recognize 11,879 undergraduate and 9,062 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees since January 1, 2018. 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 for graduate programs was 1 year, 10 months. The average age for those graduating is 39 years old.

Designed to meet the needs of working adults, WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. This model allows students to 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.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 102,000 students nationwide and has 119,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 21 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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