AUSTIN (October 11, 2019) – More than 12,500 people will gather at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin on Saturday, October 12, to celebrate Western Governors University’s (WGU) most recent graduates. In the past month alone, 3,000 students have graduated from WGU, and more than 1,500 graduates will attend the commencement ceremonies in person.
The master’s ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. CDT, and the bachelor’s ceremony will follow at 1:45 p.m. CDT. 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.
During Saturday’s ceremonies, WGU will celebrate 1,684 undergraduate and 1,328 graduate degree recipients who have completed their degrees since the university’s last commencement in September 2019. Graduates earned degrees in health professions and nursing, business, K–12 education, and information technology.
Daron K. Roberts, a former NFL coach and author of “Call an Audible,” will deliver the commencement address. A native Texan, Roberts is the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation (CSLi) at the University of Texas, where he teaches student athletes.
In addition to Roberts’ address, four WGU graduates will share their stories. Addressing the undergraduate class:
· Christina Fernandez of Allen, Texas, an IT graduate and the first employee at her company to be promoted from tech support to a corporate position.
· Lisa Prindle of Fountain, Colorado, a special education graduate whose son inspired her to obtain a teaching degree after years of working as a paraprofessional.
Addressing the graduate class:
· Cherie Watkins of Baltimore, Maryland, a nurse and two-time WGU grad who defied all odds to achieve her goals.
· Pedro Ortega of Plano, Texas, another double WGU grad, who realized education would provide a path to opportunity and a better life for himself and his family.
Of this graduating class, the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree was two years, two months, while the average time for a graduate program was one year, six months. 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.
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 117,000 students nationwide and has more than 157,000 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 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.