SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – More than 1,200 graduates from 43 states, Canada, the Northern Mariana Islands, and military installations overseas will be recognized at Western Governors University’s (WGU) 73rd commencement in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, Aug 3, 2019.
The master’s ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. MDT, and the bachelor’s ceremony will follow at 1:45 p.m. MDT. Ceremonies will be held at Vivint Smart Home Arena. For those unable to attend the ceremonies in person, both sessions will be streamed live at: https://www.wgu.edu/about/students-graduates/commencement.html.
Ken Jennings, all-time Jeopardy! champion, will deliver the commencement address. Jennings is an author, computer scientist, and record-breaking game show champion, gaining folk hero status when he appeared on Jeopardy! in 2004 and won 74 games and $2.52 million—both American game show records.
In addition to Jennings’ address, WGU graduates will share their stories. Addressing the undergraduate class will be Veronica Etier, from Mercer Island, Washington, who will receive her B.S. Business Management, and Codie Sprinkle, from Marion, North Carolina, who will receive her B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies. Addressing the graduate class will be Karyn Halverson, from Payson, Utah, who will receive her M.Ed. Learning and Technology, and Christopher Woods, from Indianapolis, Indiana, who will receive his M.S. Management and Leadership.
During Saturday’s ceremonies, WGU will recognize the 2,996 undergraduate and 2,323 graduate degree recipients who completed their degrees since the university’s last commencement in June 2019. Graduates earned degrees and credentials in health professions and nursing, business, K–12 education, and information technology. Thirty-eight percent of them are first-generation college graduates.
All of WGU's programs are competency-based, a learning model that focuses on measuring learning rather than time spent in class. This model—along with online access to courses, study materials, and proctored assessments—means students are able to complete coursework on schedules that fit their lives—not driven by a syllabus or class schedules. Students work one-on-one with course and program faculty members to receive personalized instruction and support. As a result of this flexibility, many students are able to accelerate through their programs and graduate faster than they would at a traditional school. Of this graduating class, the average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was two years, four months, while the average time for graduate programs was one year, six months.