WGU Washington to Award Record Number of Degrees during Fifth Annual Commencement Ceremony

WGU Washington logoExecutive Director of the Washington Student Achievement Council, Dr. Gene Sharratt, will address the online university’s graduating class

WGU Washington will award nearly 1,900 bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students from across the state at its fifth annual commencement ceremony Saturday, April 16. The class of 2016 is online university’s largest since it was founded five years ago.

The 2016 graduating class is roughly 12 percent larger than last year’s class of 1,700 graduates. In the five years since state lawmakers endorsed WGU Washington as an affordable, educational option for students, the university’s enrollment has grown rapidly. Up more than 1,000 percent since 2011, WGU Washington’s total enrollment now exceeds 8,900 students, making the online university the sixth largest university in the state.

“We are incredibly proud of the academic accomplishments of WGU Washington’s class of 2016,” said WGU Washington Chancellor Jean Floten. “This year’s graduating class are among more than 5,500 WGU Washington alumni who are applying their well-earned knowledge in jobs across our state.”

Executive Director of the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) Dr. Gene Sharratt will deliver the commencement ceremony’s keynote address. Sharratt is a dedicated, educational leader who has made notable contributions in our state and at a national level. As Executive Director of the WSAC, Dr. Sharratt serves on the Governor’s Cabinet.

“We are honored to have Dr. Sharratt’s commitment to participate,” said Chancellor Floten. “Gene is a greatly respected leader in the community of higher education. I have no doubt that his remarks will provide wonderful insight and inspiration to this year’s graduating class.”

This year’s commencement ceremony kicks-off what Gov. Jay Inslee has dedicated as WGU Washington Week. In recognition of the university’s fifth anniversary, as well as its impact on the state and all the hard work of its students, graduates, faculty and staff, Gov. Inslee signed a proclamation declaring April 16 – 23 WGU Washington Week. That period of celebration also includes, April 22, the anniversary of the day Gov. Gregoire signed into law the bill creating WGU Washington in 2011.

Event Details:

What: WGU Washington Commencement Ceremony

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Where: KeyArena, Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109

Keynote Speaker: Gene Sharratt, Executive Director, Washington Student Achievement Council

About WGU Washington

WGU Washington was established by the State Legislature in 2011 in partnership with nationally recognized and accredited Western Governors University to expand access to higher education for Washington residents.

The state-endorsed, online university offers more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education and Health Professions, including Nursing. WGU Washington’s competency-based learning model is designed to meet the needs of working adults by providing an affordable, flexible option for earning an accredited, respected college degree. It’s non-profit and receives no money from the state.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on 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, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education and Zions Bank.

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