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Congressman Jim Matheson to Speak at Western Governors University Summer Commencement


Western Governors University

2008-07-15 11:35:00

SALT LAKE CITY, UT–(EMWNews – July 15, 2008) – U.S. Representative Jim Matheson

(D-Utah) will deliver the commencement speech at the summer graduation

ceremony for Western Governors University (WGU) on Saturday, July 19th,

2008 in Salt Lake City. Degrees will be awarded to 642 graduates from 48

states. WGU is awarding 401 undergraduate degrees and 241 graduate degrees.

WGU ( is a non-profit, online, regionally and nationally

accredited competency-based university that was founded by 19 U.S.

governors. With a mission to expand access to quality higher education, WGU

continues to grow rapidly, having reached the 10,000 student milestone

recently. Cumulatively, WGU has graduated over 3,200 students compared to

about 400 only three years ago.

More than 100 graduates from 29 states are expected to travel to Utah to

attend the ceremony, plus one person from the Galapagos Islands and one

from Lincolnshire, England. WGU will also broadcast the ceremony live over

the Internet via streaming video for graduates and family who are unable to

attend in person. WGU holds graduation ceremonies twice each year.

WGU graduations can be very emotional events. Many students are thrilled to

meet their fellow students and faculty face-to-face for the first time.

Selected graduates are invited to speak about their WGU experiences, and

they share their moving stories about the challenges or obstacles they

worked through to pursue their degree.

This year, one graduate maintained her positive attitude after being

diagnosed with spine cancer and was determined to complete her program

despite regular chemotherapy treatments and medical illnesses. Another

graduate speaker found alternative ways to communicate with remote faculty

because she is hearing impaired and her primary language is American Sign

Language (ASL). She will deliver her speech in ASL assisted by an


For one Utah family, graduation will be a rare, once-in-a-lifetime

experience. One daughter will be graduating alongside her father as both

receive master’s degrees. In the audience will be her sister and

brother-in-law who are also enrolled at WGU and, if all goes as planned,

will graduate next year.

A four-term Congressman representing Utah’s second Congressional district,

Matheson currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which

has the broadest jurisdiction of any Congressional committee. He has also

been a strong supporter of education. Before his election to Congress,

Representative Matheson worked in the energy industry for 13 years for

several local companies and in his own firm.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Mountain Time in Abravenel Hall in Salt

Lake City.

About Western Governors University (WGU)

WGU is the only accredited online university in the U.S. offering

competency-based degree programs. The private non-profit university has

been a national leader in online education for more than 10 years. WGU, now

serving more than 10,000 students, was founded by 19 governors, and is

supported by more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They

include corporations and foundations such as AT&T, BearingPoint, Dell, Bill

and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, HCA, Microsoft, Oracle,

Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, Sun Microsystems, and Zions Bank. WGU

offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, information technology,

teacher education, and health professions, with students in all 50 states.

More information is available at

Contact for media inquiries:
Patrick Partridge
VP of Marketing
801-993-2349 or


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