Local residents walk in first WGU Tennessee graduation
Jun 22, 2014 | 495 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special to the Banner

NASHVILLE — Three local residents recently took part in Western Governors University Tennessee's first commencement ceremony, which took place June 14 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

Cleveland residents Jennifer Cross and John White receive degrees at the ceremony. Cross earned a master of education in learning and technology, and white earned a master of science in information security and assurance.

McDonald resident John Finnell received a bachelor of science in information technology.

“We are so proud of our graduates,” said Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “Most of these graduates are adults who have full-time jobs and have worked very hard to balance their family commitments, careers and studies. This is a huge milestone for them and their families.”

Commencement speakers included members of the graduating class and WGU Tennessee advisory board member Shannon Brown, senior vice president and chief human resources and diversity officer for FedEx Express.

WGU Tennessee is the state’s accredited, nonprofit university launched last year as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative. Since WGU Tennessee launched in 2013, the student body has grown to more than 1,000 — an increase of more than 30 percent.

“The success we achieved in our first year makes us optimistic about the growing impact we can have on higher education in Tennessee,” Estep said. “Our goal is to provide opportunities to as many people as possible.”

WGU Tennessee enrolls students into its programs each month. Tuition is $3,000 for a six-month term, during which students can complete an unlimited number of competencies, which are similar to credit hours in the traditional higher education model. Earlier this month, WGU announced that tuition would remain $3,000 a term for the seventh year in a row. Those interested in learning more can visit tennessee.wgu.edu.

WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee is open to all qualified Tennessee residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of WGU, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In addition to WGU Tennessee, there are four other WGU state-based, state-endorsed universities: WGU Indiana, established in June 2010; WGU Washington, established in April 2011; WGU Texas, established in August 2011; and WGU Missouri, established in February 2013.

For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website, http://tennessee.wgu.edu, or call 855-948-8495.