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U.S. Under Secretary of Education to Address WGU Commencement July 17
Jul 14, 2010 (11:07 AM EDT)

Western Governors University to award more than 1,275 degrees at 2010 summer commencement

SALT LAKE CITY, July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter will deliver the commencement address at Western Governors University's semi-annual commencement on July 17 at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. The non-profit, online university will confer 1,279 undergraduate and graduate degrees to students based in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as many who are stationed overseas on military assignments. While more than 200 students will attend the ceremony in person, traveling from as far away as Puerto Rico to receive their diplomas, graduates may also attend the ceremony online through the university's website.



Utah Governor Gary Herbert will introduce Under Secretary Kanter, who oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid for the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Kanter, who has served as chancellor for one of the largest community college districts in the country, is an advocate for providing more affordable and accessible higher education opportunities. Nominated and confirmed to her post last year, she reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

This is the 19th commencement for WGU, which was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors. The graduating class for this 6-month period is the largest to date, with 714 undergraduate and 565 graduate degrees awarded. Commencement, which will be held at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 Presidents Circle in Salt Lake City, will begin at 10:00 a.m. (MDT). Graduates and others not able to attend in person can "attend" the ceremony live over the Internet via streaming video beginning at 9:45 a.m. (MDT) on July 17. For more information, go to

WGU's 2010 Summer Commencement marks the completion of a year of accomplishment for the nation's only competency-based university. Since July 1, 2009, more than 2,260 students have graduated from WGU, receiving bachelor's, post-baccalaureate, and master's degrees in Business, Teacher Education, Information Technology, and Healthcare Professions, including Nursing. Enrollment has grown from approximately 14,000 a year ago to nearly 20,000 today. The university offers over 50 fully accredited degree programs, all competency-based and online, designed to provide opportunities for affordable, accessible higher education to working adults. WGU's tuition is affordable, less than $6,000 per year for most programs, and the university offers a number of scholarships—more than $3.5 million in scholarships were awarded in the past year.

About Western Governors University (WGU)

"[WGU is] the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of."– TIME magazine

Recently featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering competency-based degree programs and the only non-profit, fully online university in the country. WGU offers degree programs in Business, Education, Information Technology, and Healthcare Professions, including Nursing. Since its inception in 1997, WGU has grown into a national institution, serving more than 19,000 students in all 50 states.

As a non-profit with a mission to make higher education accessible, WGU strives to keep tuition affordable—tuition for most undergraduate and graduate programs is less than $6,000 per year and has increased less than $200 in the past four years. WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, and does not rely on state or national support to fund its operations.  

WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). WGU nursing programs have been accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, Dell, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, HCA, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, Sun Microsystems, American Express, and Zions Bank. More information is available at

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Joan Mitchell – Director of PR


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SOURCE Western Governors University