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November 23, 2020

WGU Adds Two Leaders in Higher Ed and Economic Development to Board

Jane Swift and Lenny Mendonca bring public- and private-sector experience as new trustees for the workforce-focused national university

SALT LAKE CITY – Western Governors University (WGU) has announced the addition of two long-time leaders bridging higher education and workforce development to its Board of Trustees.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift and former California Chief Economic and Business Advisor Lenny Mendonca join the Board of the online, competency-based university as it continues to expand its workforce-focused educational offerings, including the addition of non-degree microcredentials and leadership in the national move toward a skills-based economy.

Swift is an accomplished leader in both the public and private sectors, recognized nationally as a voice of education policy, women’s leadership, and work-family integration. She served for 15 years in Massachusetts state government, including holding the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and State Senator. Today, she is President and Executive Director at LearnLaunch, Senior Advisor at Whiteboard Advisors, and a Jerome Lyle Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School.

“Today more than ever, Americans need the pathways to opportunity that only a postsecondary education can provide,” Swift said. “But for too many, the old way of doing things simply doesn’t work. WGU has been redefining and reimagining higher education for nearly 25 years, and I am proud to support their mission as they continue to innovate for working learners everywhere.”

Mendonca returns to WGU’s Board after having served a previous term as trustee. He was the Chief Economic and Business Advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom and Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. He founded McKinsey & Company’s U.S. state and local public-sector consulting practice and oversaw their knowledge development, chairing the McKinsey Global Institute. He has served as Chair of New America, Children Now, and Fusecorps, which he also cofounded. He was Co-Chair of California Forward and Vice-Chair of Common Cause and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He is Chair Emeritus of the Bay Area Council and its Economic Institute, and he has served on a number of other boards. Today, he is a Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company and a lecturer on inequality at the Stanford Business School. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Our economy, our businesses, and our communities need highly competent workers who have mastered the skills needed in the workplace today,” Mendonca said. “A credential is no longer enough to validate a worker’s abilities—skills-based hiring requires skills-focused education, and in that approach, WGU is a true pioneer. I look forward to being part of this work as a WGU trustee.”

WGU is a leading institution in the education of working learners, offering workforce-relevant, competency-based, online postsecondary education since its founding in the late 1990s. University President Scott D. Pulsipher currently serves on the Board of the American Council on Education, the Council on Economic Development, and the Presidents Forum, which he chairs. WGU is leading the way in developing a comprehensive approach to skills-based education and hiring as a founding member of the Open Skills Network. With more than 130,000 students and 206,000 alumni in all 50 states, WGU prides itself on being the most student-centric university in the world and one of the nation’s most important contributors to the education of teachers, nurses and healthcare workers, business practitioners, and information technology professionals. With more than 70% of its student body coming from at least one historically underserved population, WGU is committed to creating pathways to opportunity for all.

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