CINCINNATI — More than 5,000 graduates, guests, and faculty will celebrate Western Governors University’s (WGU) 71st commencement in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday. The combined master’s and bachelor’s ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be held at Fifth Third Arena.
The ceremony will celebrate the 6,822 students who have graduated from WGU since February—graduates from all across the country who earned their degrees online. Some 647 of those graduates have traveled or are traveling from 40 states and overseas to attend commencement in person.
Angie Keilhauer from Nashville, Tennessee, is one of two graduates speaking at the commencement. Keilhauer will share the story of giving up her scholarship two years into her first attempt to earn a college degree to become a full-time singer-songwriter. While her parents disagreed with her decision, college simply didn’t make sense to her at the time. Keilhauer realized quickly into her first tour that she needed to learn the tools to run a successful business in music. Though memorizing legal jargon felt incredibly out of place as she simultaneously participated in NBC’s The Voice, it was the courses in Keilhauer’s WGU Marketing Management degree program that gave her the confidence to read through her entire show contract and later create a budget to record an album and marketing plan.
Keilhauer will be joined by Rayna Moore, from Payne, Ohio, who will receive her M.A. in Teaching, Science Education (Secondary). Moore’s story illustrates the importance behind bringing students’ idea of “boring and useless” science topics to life in her classroom. Moore’s devotion to student teaching has already helped several students find learning to be fun, and she is excited to bring this positivity toward learning to her own classroom this fall.
In addition to the two graduate speakers, attendees will hear from Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and chairman of the board of The Manufacturing Institute, who will deliver the commencement address. He is a leading advocate for the more than 12.8 million men and women who make things in America, educating the public and policymakers on issues that affect this critical industry, in an effort to improve the lives and livelihoods of American manufacturing workers, and build the modern manufacturing workforce.
During the ceremony, WGU will recognize the 4,006 undergraduate and 2,816 graduate degree recipients who completed their degrees since the university’s last commencement in February of this year. 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, 4 months, while the average time for graduate programs was 1 year, 7 months. 70% of these graduates are female.
Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and complete assessments 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.