SALT LAKE CITY – Western Governors University (WGU) has announced the appointment of Gene Hayes as Senior Vice President of Regional Operations. Hayes, a 17-year veteran in the higher education sector, will oversee operations and help drive strategies across WGU’s seven regions and eight state affiliates.
While WGU serves students in all 50 states, the online university continues to grow its on-the-ground presence to better serve students and alumni, increase engagement with local and regional partners, and more closely align with varying workforce needs across the U.S. Hayes will lead Regional Vice Presidents, as well as Chancellors of WGU’s state affiliates—WGU Washington, WGU Nevada, WGU Texas, WGU Missouri, WGU Indiana, WGU Ohio, WGU Tennessee, and WGU North Carolina—to drive collaboration and strategies that support the full student lifecycle, from prospect to alum.
“Gene’s passion for expanding opportunities through innovative and collaborative approaches, coupled with his extensive experience in higher education and business, will allow us to further increase our localized support systems and engagement opportunities for students, alumni, and partners,” said David Grow, WGU’s Chief Operating Officer.
Hayes joins WGU after serving nearly two decades in higher education leadership roles. He has extensive experience developing both national and international programs, and his areas of expertise include business development, academic operations, and the delivery and expansion of online programs.
Most recently, Hayes led the international team at BYU-Pathway Worldwide that oversaw the expansion and operational details of PathwayConnect (a pathways program) as well as online certificate and degree programs offered from Brigham Young University-Idaho. During his tenure at BYU-Pathway, he helped launch and expand the program to over 150 countries worldwide, creating pathways to opportunity for thousands of students. Hayes began his career at Intel Corporation, where he served in multiple leadership and management roles.
“I was attracted to WGU because of its focus on expanding access to—and improving outcomes in—higher education, and our Regional Vice Presidents and others have worked tirelessly toward that mission for several years,” said Hayes. “I look forward to adding my experience and perspectives to continue developing our local and regional relationships with all stakeholders with the intent to change students’ lives for the better.”
Hayes earned his MBA in General Management with an International Emphasis from the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. He also holds a B.S. in Economics from BYU. The Oaxaca, Mexico, native is multi-lingual and currently serves as a Business Language Case Competition judge at the Marriott School of Business, helping students from universities across the country showcase their international business acumen, presentation, and foreign-language skills in real-life global business scenarios. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Utah Foster Care. Hayes is a competitive squash player.