ORLANDO – More than 1,200 graduates from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and military installations overseas will walk the stage at Western Governors University’s (WGU) 70th commencement in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday. The master’s ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. EST and the bachelor’s ceremony will follow at 1:45 p.m. EST. Both ceremonies will be held at Disney Coronado Springs Resort, but for those of the 8,783 graduates being recognized who are unable to attend the ceremony in person, the entire program will be streamed live.
Junne Lim from Kissimmee, Florida, is one of four graduates speaking at the commencement. Lim will share the story of one of his best kept secrets: obtaining his master’s degree. Wanting to make his hard-working, immigrant parents from the Phillipines proud, Lim made the decision to take advantage of his time living in the “land of opportunity” by earning his MBA—something that he feels honors his parents’ many sacrifices. Lim’s parents, unaware of his pursuit of a degree, will learn when they arrive in Orlando that not only has their son completed his master’s, but he will also be addressing his graduating class on stage at Saturday’s commencement.
Simon T. Bailey, best-selling author and former sales director at Disney Institute, will deliver the commencement address. Bailey is one of America's top 10 most popular corporate and association speakers on change, leadership, and customer experience. As an innovator, educator, executive advisor, and author, he shapes the lives of men and women around the world.
In addition to Lim, Bailey will be joined by graduate speakers Jennifer Knaack, from Becker, Minnesota, who will receive her M.S. in Nursing – Leadership and Management; D’Lynn Linger from Flagler, Colorado, who will receive her B.A in Educational Studies; and Gussie Hopkins from Buford, Georgia, who will receive her B.S. in Business – IT Management.
During the ceremonies, WGU will recognize the 5,367 undergraduate and 3,416 graduate degree recipients who completed their degrees since its last commencement in November 2018. Areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. Of this graduating class, the average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was 2 years, 5 months, while the average time for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months. The average age for those graduating is 38 years old.
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; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.