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WGU Missouri Recognizes 565 Graduates Earning Degrees in 2019

Celebration honoring all 2019 WGU Missouri graduates draws 400 attendees, features keynote by Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and CEO of The DeBruce Foundation

Jul 30, 2019

ST. LOUIS – Graduating students from across the state were officially recognized for earning their degrees this year through WGU Missouri at a July 27th graduation party hosted by the only fully online, nonprofit university endorsed by the state of Missouri.  The event was held at the William D. Purser Center in Chesterfield, Mo., to honor the 565 students who have graduated from WGU Missouri this year. All 2019 graduates and their families were invited to celebrate their recent accomplishments and mingle with Chancellor Dr. Angie Besendorfer, WGU Missouri staff, alumni and fellow students. 

Approximately 100 graduates, along with more than 300 of their guests, attended the celebration, which featured a keynote presentation by Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The DeBruce Foundation and a WGU Missouri board member. The Foundation seeks to change how people pursue careers, close workforce gaps, and structure solutions toward sustainable impact, and Taylor Knight leads its mission to expand pathways to economic growth and opportunity. Sarah Davis, of Saint Joseph, Mo., who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing management, also addressed the crowd as the graduate speaker. WGU Missouri Chancellor Besendorfer rounded out the agenda, highlighting the significance of the event.

"While our students technically complete their course requirements to graduate at various times throughout the year, given the fact that they control their own schedules, we welcome the opportunity to bring so many of them together at one time to celebrate their shared accomplishments,” said Chancellor Besendorfer. “It’s truly inspiring to see so many hardworking students earn their undergraduate or graduate degrees, especially considering that many of our students are raising children and are working full- or part-time jobs. These graduates have shown incredible dedication to their life goals throughout their time at WGU Missouri, and we wish them the very best as they continue to advance their careers.” 

WGU Missouri, created in 2013 by former Governor Jay Nixon in partnership with Western Governors University, provides an affordable and accessible path to college completion for working adults throughout the state. The university now has more than 3,200 alumni and 3186 students currently enrolled.  This year’s graduating class is made up of a diverse student body. Specific statistics are as follows: 

WGU Missouri’s 2019 Graduates by the Numbers

  • WGU Missouri graduates represent 168 cities across the state and more than 70 counties.
  • 323 undergraduate and 242 graduate degrees conferred. 
  • The average age of the graduates is 38; the youngest grad is 20; the oldest is 76.
  • 87 percent of the graduates are over the age of 30.
  • 41 percent of the graduates represent the first generation in their family to complete college.
  • 30 graduate degree programs and 31 undergraduate degree programs are being represented.
  • The time to graduation is 2 years, 2 months for undergraduates and 1 year, 7 months for graduates.
  • 71% of graduates are female; 29% are male.
  • Nearly one-fourth of graduates live in rural parts of the state.
  • 67% of graduates are considered to be underserved. 

WGU Missouri’s online, competency-based model allows students to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. As a result, many students can accelerate their studies, finishing faster and saving money. For most programs, WGU offers a flat rate tuition of $3,200 per six-month term, regardless of the number of courses completed. On average, students are able to complete a bachelor’s degree in less than three years, many while holding a full-time job and raising a family. The online model also enables students to enroll and study from anywhere across the state, and complete coursework at a schedule that works best for them. For more information, visit

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