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WGU Establishes Office in L.A. to Increase Engagement with Students, Alumni and External Partners in Western States

Rick Benbow to lead regional office overseeing California, Nevada, and Arizona

May 3, 2020

LOS ANGELES Western Governors University (WGU) announced today that it is establishing an office in the greater Los Angeles area to increase support for students, alumni and external partners in California, Nevada, and Arizona. Richard L. Benbow III has joined the university as a Regional Vice President and will manage operations and external relations in the trio of states.

Benbow brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning to his new role at WGU and will lead a team that executes strategy and operations to optimize student success, increase alumni engagement, and develop and sustain partnerships that expand access and affordability to higher education. As of the end of March, WGU had more than 10,846 students and 19,020 graduates in California alone, and 43,134 combined students and alumni across the three states.

“Rick understands the importance of providing as personal and unified of an experience as possible for each student, and he knows how to develop and execute plans to achieve that,” said David Grow, WGU’s Chief Operating Officer. “With his leadership in our new California-based office, WGU will be able to offer more engagement opportunities for students, alumni, and external stakeholders in the area.”

Benbow has already appointed Bob Benson as Regional Director to support with the development of an optimal organizational structure and to plan and manage coordinated external strategies. Benson’s 20-year career in higher education, including his most recent role as Vice President of International Affairs at National University, will provide additional operational leadership in areas key to WGU’s mission and growth in the region. 

Benbow’s distinguished career spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He was most recently the Chief Officer of Government and Community Relations for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he drove strategies and efforts for the advancement of UCLA through legislation, policy, regulation, and relationship building. His previous roles include Senior Director of External and Government Affairs at Time Warner Cable and Senior Manager of Franchise Administration and Constituent Services for the City of Los Angeles.

Benbow is active in his community, most recently serving on executive boards for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board, and the Valley Industry Commerce Association. He has served as a board member for the Harbor City Boys & Girls Club and was an advisory board member for Urban Media. He also assists young aspiring college student-athletes, coaches youth basketball and football, and serves as a mentor.

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