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WGU Nevada to Recognize More than 200 Graduates at Inaugural Commencement

News Brief - 5/16/16

Lt. Gov. Hutchison will be the ceremony’s keynote speaker, honoring graduates from 11 Nevada counties

LAS VEGAS — WGU Nevada, the online, nonprofit university established 11 months ago, will hold its first commencement on Saturday, May 21. The event will honor 218 graduates who have completed their bachelor’s or master’s degrees in one of four disciplines: business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

The ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m. at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, 1610 Lake Las Vegas Parkway in Henderson. In addition to celebrating its graduates, the university will also mark another exciting milestone at the event: surpassing 1,600 currently enrolled students, an increase of 78% over Western Governors University’s enrollment in Nevada in June 2015—when the state and WGU formed a partnership to create WGU Nevada.

Nevada’s Lieutenant Governor, Mark Hutchison, will deliver the commencement address to the 75 graduates who will attend in person and the more than 500 family members and friends who will travel from throughout the state to attend the ceremony. Joining the Lieutenant Governor will be four graduates who will share their stories at the ceremony: James H. Lemmons Jr., B.S. Business–IT Management, from Las Vegas; Silvia Mendoza-Stout, M.Ed. Learning and Technology, from Las Vegas; Jeannette Magbutay, M.S. Nursing–Education, from Las Vegas; and Sean McDonald, M.S. Management and Leadership, from Carson City. Also joining the commencement will be WGU Nevada Chancellor Spencer Stewart, WGU President Scott Pulsipher, and WGU Nevada Advisory Board Members from throughout the state.

“When Nevada partnered with WGU last year, it was because as state leaders we recognized that Nevada needed to expand its educational options, offering working adults an affordable way to earn their degrees while balancing work, family, and other commitments,” said Lt. Governor Hutchison. “This commencement is especially meaningful because it reinforces that WGU Nevada is a viable way for adults to earn their degrees, and for our state to build a highly skilled workforce, which leads to higher-paying jobs, growing businesses, and stronger families.”

WGU Nevada Commencement by the Numbers:

  • 218 graduates representing 11 Nevada counties will be recognized during the ceremony.
  • 63% of the graduates are classified as underserved.
  • 40% represent the first generation in their family to complete college.
  • 90% are 27 or older.
  • 116 undergraduate and 102 graduate degrees will be recognized.
  • Degree distribution by college:
    • College of Business – 36%
    • Teachers College – 31%
    • College of Health Professions and Nursing – 25%
    • College of Information Technology – 8%

Designed to meet the needs of busy working adults, WGU Nevada’s competency-based learning model focuses on measuring learning, not time spent in class. Students set their own study schedules and move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. While WGU Nevada’s degree programs are rigorous and challenging, they are also flexible, allowing students to earn their degrees without sacrificing work, family, and financial obligations. Because competency-based learning allows students to accelerate their studies, many finish faster, saving time and money—the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree is about 2 ½ years.

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