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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to Deliver WGU Commencement Address

Online university to hold its 24th commencement ceremony in Atlanta on February 9

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is slated to speak at Western Governors University's next commencement, which will be held February 9 at Atlanta's Philips Arena. The nonprofit, online university, which holds commencement twice a year, will recognize more than 3,500 graduates from across the U.S. at the event.

Governor Bush served as Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007, and during his tenure, education reform was a top priority. The governor worked with the Florida Legislature to take advantage of new technology to expand access and improve the quality of education. In 2000, the state established online public high school Florida Virtual School as an independent educational entity - a unique distance-learning institution that allows students in rural areas of the state to take Advanced Placement classes for college credit. Governor Bush currently serves as chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national foundation focused on education reform.

WGU was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors as a private, nonprofit online university with a mission to improve quality and expand access to higher education, particularly for adult learners. The university offers competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average age of WGU's students is 37, and most have families and work full time.

With more than 37,000 current students and 19,000 graduates, fast-growing WGU is garnering national attention for its innovative, competency-based learning model, which allows students to advance through courses when they demonstrate what they have learned, rather than logging classroom hours. This allows WGU students, who usually have prior education and work experience, to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. In many cases, students can accelerate their progress toward a degree. The average time to earn a bachelor's degree is 35 months, and with a flat-rate tuition of about $3,000 per six-month term for most programs, regardless of the number of courses completed, students can save both time and money.

About Western Governors University

Featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.  The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs have been accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana was created by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011.  On August 3, 2011, the state of Texas created WGU Texas. WGU Indiana, WGU Washington, and WGU Texas are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.

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. More information is available at www.wgu.edu or by calling 866.225.5948.

Contact for media inquiries:
Joan Mitchell – Director of PR
[email protected]

Contact for enrollment information:

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SOURCE Western Governors University

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