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Western Governors University Appoints Dwana Franklin-Davis and Eloy Ortiz Oakley to Board of Trustees

Nov 16, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY (NOVEMBER 16, 2023) — Western Governors University (WGU) today announced the appointment of technologist and diversity champion Dwana Franklin-Davis and higher education veteran Eloy Ortiz Oakley to its board of trustees. As one of the nation’s largest universities with nearly 350,000 graduates and concurrent enrollment across the U.S. surpassing 160,000 full-time students, the WGU board of trustees play a pivotal role in ensuring students remain at the center of all decision making, with a focus on driving equitable outcomes.

 WGU’s mission is to change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity and it emphasizes continuous improvement of three key results: 1) Completion, 2) Return for graduates, and 3) Equity in both access and attainment. With 66 percent of WGU students being from one or more underserved or underrepresented communities, the growth of WGU and student success is a testament to its student-centeredness, leadership, and governance by the board.

“Dwana and Eloy are champions for individuals who’ve systematically been underserved, and each has already made a significant impact in higher education and the workforce. I’m thrilled to be welcoming them as our newest trustees,” said President Scott Pulsipher. As we welcome a new generation of leaders with fresh perspectives, I look forward to seeing our board continue its legacy of innovative thinking grounded in impact and accountability.”

Dwana Franklin-Davis is the CEO of Reboot Representation, a group of 27 leading tech companies that are committed to doubling the number of Black, Latina, and Native American (BLNA) women receiving computing degrees by 2025. A lifelong technologist with a passion for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech sector, Franklin-Davis joined Reboot Representation in 2019 after working in IT, software engineering, and leadership positions for Mastercard, May Department Store Companies, and IBM. For the past year, she has been working alongside WGU’s College of IT through Reboot’s B4 Women in Tech grant. To date, 1,354 BLNA women are members of the program, 156 have received B4 Women in Tech scholarships, and 86 have graduated with bachelor’s degrees.

“Everyone deserves access to a high-quality education, one that nurtures their talent within and beyond the classroom,” said Dwana Franklin-Davis. “I’m excited to join WGU’s board of trustees to support their work in creating pathways that help WGU students excel at college and in their careers.”

Eloy Oakley is CEO of the College Futures Foundation, which endeavors to make certain that postsecondary education in California advances racial, social, and economic equity, unlocking upward mobility now and for generations to come. He is also a former University of California regent and previously was chancellor of the California Community Colleges, overseeing the academic success for nearly 2 million students. As a veteran in higher education and a strong promoter of innovation within the system, Oakley is passionate about creating changes within the culture, politics, and policies of our higher education system.

“WGU serves working learners and is passionate about equity in outcomes for their learners,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “That resonates with me and I hope to support the continued growth of the university for learners who have not been served well by traditional higher education.”

As a tech-powered and student-centered university, WGU continues to innovate and improve the probability that pathways to opportunity exist and work for students at WGU and beyond. With the pace of change only accelerating in this age of artificial intelligence, WGU looks to and is grateful to its board of trustees for its guidance and commitment to ensuring higher education fulfills its promise to improve lives and communities. 

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