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WGU Bachelor's Ceremony, June 2019

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WGU Bachelor's Ceremony, June 2019
Western Governors University
<p>Order of Events: Processional; National Anthem sang by Kaitlyn Ednave; Welcome and Opening Remarks from WGU Nevada Chancellor Dr. Spencer Stewart; Commencement Address delivered by Jaime Casap; Graduate Speakers are Adeela Kiran Shaikh and Misty O'Brien; Conferral of Degrees by WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Marni Baker Stein; Closing by WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Marni Baker Stein; Recessional.</p> <p>Saturday, June 8, 2019 Western Governors University Master's Commencement in Anaheim, California. Jamie Casap, the Education Evangelist for Google delivered the Commencement Address.. This is a recording of the WGU Master's Ceremony.</p> <p>Transcription of video (note: This is not a complete transcription. The reading of graduates names is not included):</p> <p>Natalie Murray: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 72nd commencement for Western Governors University. [Applause] Graduates, families, and friends, thank you for joining us as we celebrate this special occasion. Our ceremony is being recorded and streamed live over the Internet. A special welcome to all of our online participants joining across the country and around the world. [00:00:34] Please silence your cell phones, but keep them nearby as there will be an opportunity later in the program to share your achievement on social media. Please stand for the processional, and remain standing for the national anthem. </p> <p>[Processional and National Anthem] </p> <p>Spencer Stewart: Thank you. Please take your seats. We'd like to thank Kaitlyn Ednave from Modesto, California, who is graduating [applause] that's right, who is graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing for performing our national anthem. Let's give her another round of applause. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>That was amazing. Good afternoon everyone, it is my honor to convene the 72nd WGU Commencement in Anaheim, California. On behalf of the entire university, and our board of trustees, we welcome our honored graduates and congratulate you on completing one of life's great achievements. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>We also extend our warmest welcome to the many family members and friends who are here to support their graduates. In addition, we want to recognize and welcome the many graduates, who, together with their family and friends, are watching this event via our live webcast. Let's give them a round of applause. [applause] </p> <p>Graduates, it is likely that today would not have been possible without friends and family at your side. Would all of you, the friends and family of our graduates please stand up? Graduates look around, let's thank them for their help and support. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>At WGU, we also often have family members graduating together. If you are graduating with a family member today, would you please stand to be recognized. Please stand. [Cheers and applause] It's so inspiring to see families share this accomplishment together. </p> <p>WGU is honored to be recognized year after year as a military friendly university. We would like to recognize the military members who are graduating. Would the graduates who are active duty, reservists, veterans, and military spouses, please stand to be recognized? [Cheers and applause] Thank you so much for your service to our country. </p> <p>And last, but not least, if you, our students and alumni, are the lifeblood of this institution, then the faculty and staff are its heart. With us today are many of our WGU mentors, instructors and other employees. If you've been a beneficiary of the time and dedication that they've put into their work, please put your hands together one last time, and give them a round of applause. [Applause] </p> <p>Thank you. Twenty two years ago, WGU was officially founded. Twenty years ago, WGU enrolled its first student. The university now has more than 143,000 graduates. Since our last commencement let this sink in since our last commencement in April, just two months ago, 6,569 students have graduated from WGU. [Applause] </p> <p>Today, more than 1400 graduates are joining us at our two ceremonies to be individually recognized for earning their degrees. Among these 752 have earned bachelor's degrees, and 682 have earned master's degrees. You come from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and military installations overseas. And of the 1,434 attending today, more than half of you are from California. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Thank you for being here today. It is our privilege to help you recognize this special day. Let me share some additional facts about today's graduating class, including both master's and bachelor's graduates. Thirty nine percent of you are the first in your families to earn a college degree. We extend a special congratulations to you. [Applause] </p> <p>Your average age is 38, the youngest, get this, is 19, and the oldest is 76. [Cheers and applause] But wait, there's more. Seventy three percent of you are women. [Cheers and applause] And on average, you completed your undergraduate program in two years and four months. Simply amazing. [Applause] </p> <p>It's inspiring to look at all of you and to consider your achievements knowing that you've juggled priorities, made sacrifices, and faced many challenges along the way. You are the reason that we have gathered here, and for all of us at WGU, the reason why we believe in the importance of our work. Today's commencement celebrates you, our graduates, for setting and accomplishing a significant goal and moving to a new stage in your life. You join only 33 percent of adults in the U.S. who hold a bachelor's degree. Much will be expected of you as you continue your life journey, taking leadership roles at work, and in your communities. </p> <p>Education is the greatest predictor of career success. You worked hard to attain an educational milestone that will change the course of your own history, and influence future generations. You have aspired to greater things. Thank you for letting all of us at WGU play a part in the fulfillment of your dream. [Applause] </p> <p>And now I'm pleased to introduce Jaime Casap, our commencement speaker today. Jaime Casap is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the potential of digitalization as an enabling capability in pursuit of promoting inquiry based learning models. Jaime collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation into our education policies and practices. </p> <p>In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on learning, skill development, and the future of work. Jaime helped launch the Phoenix Coding Academy, a public high school in Phoenix, Arizona, focused on computer science as part of an inquiry based learning model. He teaches a tenth grade communication class at that school. He is also a guest lecturer at Arizona State University. He speaks on education, digitalization, innovation, Generation Z, and the future of work at events around the globe. Please help me welcome Mr. Jaime Casap. [Applause] </p> <p>Jaime Casap: All right. Okay. So before I officially get started, I've got to share a story with you guys. So, two nights ago, I'm reading to my four year old. We'd been reading this big, giant animal book for months. It's huge, those big encyclopedias. And we were reading about owls. Total coincidence. </p> <p>And, we read about the great eagle owl, we read about the snowy owl, we read about the barn owl, all these different owls. All these different owls. And at the end of this I said, "Hey, you know I'm going to LA in a couple days." I can't say "Anaheim" because she just thinks I'll be at Disneyland. "I'm going to LA to speak to graduates from the university. And their nickname, their name is night owls." And she looked at me a little puzzled, and I thought, "Oh, great, I'm going to have to try to define what a night owl is for her." But that's not what happened. </p> <p>She looked at me and she said, "Pappi, all owls are night owls. [Laughter] We just read about it." Like she realized that I wasn't getting the concepts. "Like that's when they're active, that's when they hunt, and that's why they have those big eyes." So I'm going to have to take classes here just to catch up with her. </p> <p>Anyway, so thank you very much for having me. I'm excited to be here. I want to thank the provost, the president, the faculty and staff at WGU for inviting me to spend a couple of minutes. But I want to start with this, and we did this already, but we need to do it again. I want to start by congratulating the graduates for this monumental milestone. It's a remarkable accomplishment, and you should all be proud. Congratulations, night owls, or as my daughter would say, "just owls." [Applause] </p> <p>I also want to congratulate the families present here today and those who couldn't make it, but are thinking about you guys right now at this very moment. You should be proud of your students, but you should also be proud of yourselves. Your commitment, and in many cases, sacrifices, are the reason why we have all these distinguished graduates sitting with us here today. So congratulations to the family of those night owls. [Applause] </p> <p>Now, when President Pulsipher asked me to come speak at this commencement I was, of course, humbled and honored. I was also very excited. These are great opportunities to engage with young people. I was excited that is, until a man by the name of Robert F. Smith gave a commencement speech that not only ruined the lives of commencement speakers this season, but possibly for the rest of time. </p> <p>I'm sure you've heard by now that Mr. Smith promised to pay off the debt of all the Morehouse graduates during his speech. No, don't [laughter] So, I'm happy for those students, but it's created an unrealistic expectation. [Laughter] Look, I wish I could pay off your student loans. I mean I just paid off my 1995 Chevy Celebrity. I wish I could pay off [laughter]. That thing hasn't worked in ten years. I wish I could pay off your debt. But, I don't feel that terrible because I know that Western Governors' tuition is substantially lower than any other school. I also know that they structure [applause] yeah. </p> <p>Well, they structured their education programs in enriching ways, in ways that a lot of these other schools haven't done. And that's just not me saying that because I'm up here and I'm pandering to the folks sitting on the stage, I have real evidence. I want to share an email I got with you just this past Tuesday. </p> <p>"Hi, Jaime, we haven't met, but I saw you're speaking at my graduation in Anaheim on Saturday. I've been at Google for 14 years in engineering, and have always wanted a master's in security. I was accepted into a number of programs, but WGU has a great program that was manageable, and affordable. I could do the program while still working full time at Google, and I learned so much. It's all about how much of yourself you put into the program, not about how much it costs." Let me repeat that. "It's all about how much of yourself you put in the program, not how much it costs." I couldn't said it better myself, and that's what you guys were able to do. </p> <p>Because, as I look out into the audience, and I see some of those stats that were just presented, I see first generation graduates, I see minority students, I see students coming from and living in low income families. In other words, I see myself. I believe education disrupts poverty. I believe education changes a family's destiny. I believe these things because this is what education did for me. </p> <p>I am a first generation American, born and raised in Hell's Kitchen, New York. New Yorkers in the house? [Cheers] All right. Yeah, I'm not talking about the Hell's Kitchen that you find today, with all those great condos, and restaurants. That's not the Hell's Kitchen I'm talking about. I'm talking about the one from the '70s and '80s, when it was really Hell's Kitchen. I grew up with a single mother. I grew up on food stamps and welfare. I grew up watching friends I knew since elementary school cycle in and out of prison. I wanted none of that, and saw education as my escape route. It wasn't easy, but I graduated from college, and I even have my master's degree in public policy from Arizona State University in Phoenix where I live now. [Cheers] Yeah, thank you. </p> <p>Education is the reason why I stand in front of you. It's the reason I've been able to live such an enriching life. But more importantly it's the reason why my children have had the opportunity that they've had in their life. That's the real impact of education, that it's not just for you guys, it goes on for generations and generations and generations. And I know you guys see the value of that. And I share this with you because that's my life's work. I believe that a street kid hoodlum like me can accomplish what I've been able to accomplish. I know there are millions and millions of other students across the country who can do the same. </p> <p>So let me share a question with you, three questions with you, that I want you to think about as you leave here. These questions, three questions that I wish someone would've asked me while I sat where you sit right now. Because I was asked a different question, a question all of you have heard your whole life. And that question is: What do you want to be when you grow up? Right? All of you have heard that question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" </p> <p>Many of you asked that question of other students. We need to stop. It's the wrong question. That question used to make sense in the olden days back like in 1994. [Laughter] When change happened slower. Today, we know that jobs will continue to shift and evolve. We know that we're going to have work that we can't even imagine, using technology and inventions that we can't even dream possible right now. Because change does happen slowly, but then it happens suddenly. And we find ourselves standing in the world of suddenly right now. </p> <p>"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is an impossible question to answer, and I believe it's the wrong question to ask. So I want to ask you a different question. This is the question I want to ask you: What problem do you want to solve? What's the problem that spins in your head? What's the problem that bugs you? I mean, any problem. It could be solving climate change, but it could also be how to make a better rap video, or how to make a faster car. It doesn't matter. It's the process that you go through. How do you make anything better? What is the problem you want to solve? </p> <p>The second question I want you to think about is "How do you want to solve it?" You, personally. How do you take the skills and abilities that you learn here and the passions and gifts that you have inside to solve the problems that you care about? There are millions of ways to solve a problem. What's going to be your way? </p> <p>And the third question is tied to where you find yourself today, so you know this is relevant... What do you need to keep learning to solve that problem? What are the skills and abilities you need to keep mastering? What is the strategy that you're going to use to continue to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you'll need to solve that problem that you care about? </p> <p>By the way, Daniel Pink wrote about this in his book "Drive" about what motivates all of us as human beings. I just took his ideas and brought them to the next level. The same three things motivate all of us as human beings: Purpose what problem do you want to solve. Autonomy how do you want to solve it? And mastery what do you need to learn to solve that problem? Those are the questions that I want you to think about. </p> <p>But I want you to do one more thing. I want you to think about those questions in a frame, a belief, a truth, that you believe in so deeply that you would tattoo it on your body, something that you just believe. And since I'm here, I want to share what mine is. So, I want to show you something. See this guy right here? You see him? That's Yoda. And Yoda has been sitting on my desk like that in front of me for 25 years. No matter where I worked, no matter what job I've had, Yoda has sat right in front of me just as he is right now. </p> <p>I was 12 years old in 1980, when I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" in a movie theater. It was on that day that I heard the most profound thing I would ever hear in my life. And I can't believe I'm about to admit this in front of you guys, but you know, we're here in Anaheim, walking distance from the Star Wars park, otherwise known as Disneyland, so I think it's just fate that I bring this up. </p> <p>While everyone else was focused on the big revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's father sorry, I should've said "spoiler alert." [Laughter] I was focused on something else. I was focused on a little green puppet. Because it was Yoda that said, "No, try not. Do or do not, there is no try." That's right, I've structured my entire life after what a puppet said in a movie when I was 12 years old. [Applause] </p> <p>But I thought about that phrase since the moment I heard it almost every day. "Do or do not, there is no try." Over time I realized that we only use that word "try" when we're scared, when we think we might fail. When I was invited here, I didn't say to the team, "Thank you for the invitation, I'll try to make it." The pilot that flew me in the airplane from Phoenix last night didn't get on the intercom and say, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're approaching the airport, I'm going to try to land this thing." [Laughter] </p> <p>It's only when we're scared of failure do we use words like "try". "I'll try to start my business." "I'll try to get that job I've always wanted." "I will try to be creative." Stop. Don't use the word "try." Find a problem that you want to solve, determine how you want to solve it, and then go solve it, period. And if you don't do it on the first shot, figure out what you need to learn, and so you can use that on the second attempt. Wash, rinse, repeat. </p> <p>It's clear you guys have the capacity and capability to accomplish anything that you want. It's clear that you guys don't make excuses or let obstacles stand in your way, otherwise you wouldn't be sitting here. </p> <p>Anyway, my time is up, congratulations on this incredible milestone. Today is a highlight in your constant pursuit of lifelong learning. Clearly nothing can get in your way. So go out, take that problem on that you're passionate about, take it on with all you've got. Don't try, do. Thank you guys very much. Congratulations. [Applause] </p> <p>Spencer Stewart: Thank you, Jaime, for those inspiring remarks. And now we have the privilege of hearing from two graduates. They are: Kiran Shaikh, Bachelor of Science, Health Informatics from Chicago, Illinois. And Misty O'Brien, Bachelor of Arts, Special Education, from Spokane Valley, Washington. Please join me in welcoming first to the lectern, Kiran. [Applause] </p> <p>Adeela Kiran Shaikh: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Adeela Kiran Shaikh, and I'm honored to be given this opportunity to share my story today. </p> <p>When I graduated high school in 1990, I was excited and eager to pursue my higher education, to become a pediatrician. But that dream came to an end when two years into my undergrad studies, I was placed into an arranged marriage. </p> <p>As a 18 year old I was excited and thrilled to be planning week long wedding festivities, and I knew I'd get new clothes, jewelry, shoes. That was it for me. Like okay. So the glitz and glamour of a traditional wedding was so appealing that I forgot one simple little fact, that all this would come along with a husband I didn't know, and responsibilities that I was not ready for. </p> <p>I got married at 19, and gave birth to my first daughter at 20. With the support of my family, I enrolled back in school to get the education I so coveted. But soon I realized that married life and mom life would prevent me from finishing my degree, so I had to leave school once again. </p> <p>This was the start of a long and winding path through the pressures of adulthood that would last for more than two decades. Over that time, I had two more beautiful children, and tried several different jobs, including starting a business that did not survive the 2008 recession. Through it all, I was working harder than ever, but we still found ourselves unable to live a financially successful life. </p> <p>Then, in 2015, just a year after my husband had started our second business, tragedy struck and my husband unexpectedly passed away. His death was a very difficult time in my life. I could have given up, but there's a popular Tibetan quote that says, "Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength." So that is what I chose to do. I turned my pain into determination. I knew I had to go back to school, but the question was how? I had two kids in college already. How was I going to pay for my education? Where was I going to find the time for my education? </p> <p>This is when I stumbled upon WGU and began the most powerful journey of my life. It didn't seem possible, but WGU offered the two things that I needed to obtain my degree: Flexibility and affordability. So I decided to apply for WGU's health informatics program. </p> <p>I remember sitting at my coffee table nervously awaiting the decision when I received the email saying that I'd been declined admission due to lack of experience. Thankfully my enrollment counselor sensed my eagerness to enroll, and encouraged me to obtain the necessary health IT certification that I needed, and encouraged me to reapply. </p> <p>I followed his advice, and enrolled in the recommended course the next day. After two months of hard work and determination, I was able to pass my certification and reapply to the program. And to my delight, I was accepted. </p> <p>WGU was a godsend to me. WGU gave me credit for the several classes I had completed at Georgia State, and the competency based structure allowed me to work and finish classes on my own schedule. And to top it all off, I was assigned an awesome mentor who supported me and guided me throughout my entire experience. Thank you, Becky. [Applause] </p> <p>The education from WGU gave me the knowledge and confidence that I had hungered for all my life. Having lost my identity as a young wife, mother, and daughter in law, my education experience allowed me to discover who I was as an individual for the first time. </p> <p>Today, I'm working as a confident director of health informatics. I have a happily married daughter, a beautiful granddaughter, a successful son who is a software engineer, and a determined daughter who is on her way to becoming an accountant. My brother, [Badar?]has been my rock and support during this whole process. I couldn't have made it without you, Badar, thank you so much. [Applause] </p> <p>This has not been an easy journey. I've encountered hurdles, faced fears, and have had both low points and experienced high points. But then, this is what this journey called life is about. </p> <p>As we travel through this excursion, we must remember that fear is self created. We should never let our fear rob our strength. We must stay steadfast towards our goals, and pick ourselves up back every time we fall. My favorite verse from the Koran says, "Verily, with hardship comes ease." We just need to be patient when faced with hardship, and wait for that ease. </p> <p>I thank WGU from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for me to reach out to the stars and fulfill my dreams. Thank you WGU and thank you to every single graduate out there for making it through, guys. We did it! Yay! [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Misty O'Brien: Good job, Kiran. Hi, I'm Misty O'Brien, I'm graduating with a bachelor's of special education. When I graduated from high school, we had opened a time capsule that had been created 18 years earlier when we were all in the first grade. I had received a piece of paper on which I colored and written all my favorite things. Perhaps for me, the most telling was that six year old me had said, "When I grow up, I want to be a teacher." </p> <p>In all honesty, at 18, ready to head out to college, being a teacher wasn't even something I considered. I sort of laughed at childhood me because at that time, I wanted to do so many different things but none of these things put me in the classroom in front of students. </p> <p>So time went on, and when I was 24, I married my husband, Dan. We started a family. And in 2006, our first son, Ian was born. He was a typically developing child. He talked, he walked, he hit all of his milestones. But after his first birthday, his language regressed. It was to a point where it was non existent. And right before his third birthday, he was diagnosed with autism. </p> <p>We worked hard to give him the best services, and he worked hard to learn how to use language again. He had to learn how to play with other kids, to practice social skills. I was in awe of his commitment. Ian, you are the epitome of hard work and dedication. [Applause] And as we worked with him and his IEP team, I started to feel a calling. Six year old me in that way back time machine in 1989 must have had a crystal ball, because in 2014 I took a huge leap and I enrolled at WGU in the Bachelors of Special Education program. </p> <p>Here I was, 32 years old, and going back to school. At that time I had three children, ages eight, six, and three. And my husband was our sole income earner. We knew this path would put stress on our family no matter where I went to school, but WGU was my first choice. I needed the flexibility of working towards a degree on my own time, with the option of accelerating my classes as necessary. </p> <p>My motivation to become a teacher was Ian, our son. I wanted to be that teacher for others that he's always been for me. His kindness, his love, his dedication, and his commitment to himself were inspiring. I wanted to take all of those pieces of him and share them with others through teaching. </p> <p>Throughout his journey, we watched our son grow into an intelligent, compassionate teenager. He has had so much support from his family and care team, I knew I wanted to be that same support for other special need students and their families. </p> <p>So did all of this mean that WGU was easy? No way! This program, as you know, requires hard work, dedication, commitment, practice. There were so many times in the first couple of years I wondered if I was going to finish. There were late nights, there was missed family time, there were many struggles. </p> <p>My husband not only financially supported us by working both a full time and part time job, but he also took on the role of home schooling all three of our boys while I spent 16 weeks in student teaching. [Applause] </p> <p>My program mentor, [Nileen Ector?], was instrumental in my success. She pushed me, she encouraged me, she reminded me of my goals. Never did I ever want to give up, but I questioned my ability to make it through. </p> <p>I was halfway into my degree, and I was having a hard time seeing the light at the end of this tunnel, and I just needed that one sign that said you're still on the right path. I still needed that courage to finish this marathon, and luckily for me that sign arrived immediately. </p> <p>It appeared when a course instructor sent me a recorded cohort for a pre clinical class. So I sat down in the quietest area I could find, you know, with three energetic kids running through the house. I put my earbuds in, and I hit "play" on the cohort. And before I even saw that screen, I heard the most wonderful voice from my past. I looked up, and saw my high school humanities teacher leading this cohort. Back then, she was just Mrs. Nancy Cartwright. But you all know her now as Dr. Nancy Cartwright, or simply "Doc Nancy." [Applause] </p> <p>Her appearance at that time, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And over the next two years, Doc Nancy mentored me. Between she and Nileen, I had two rocks I could count on at WGU for continuous and unwavering support. When it came time for student teaching, I was still without a clinical supervisor. Doc Nancy, unbeknownst to me at the time, applied to be my clinical supervisor. When I hit roadblocks, Doc Nancy was there. And when I needed help navigating obstacles, she showed me the way. And when I thought I'd completely failed a student teaching observation, she provided meaningful feedback and constructive criticism. </p> <p>When I attended a WGU Scholars event, half of the people I had met for the first time had already heard about me because of Doc Nancy's pride. She embodies the spirit of WGU, and I have never felt so part of a school as I have with WGU. The program mentors, the course instructors, the enrollment counselors, even the teacher licensing team, they were all there for me, wanting me to succeed. And they made themselves available for me when I needed them. WGU is family. </p> <p>In January, I officially graduated with my bachelor's in special education, that led to dual licensure for elementary education, and special education in Washington state. [Applause] Thank you. The day after I graduated, I accepted a position with the Kodiak Island Boroughs School District in Kodiak, Alaska. I will be an elementary special education teacher in the 2019 2020 school year. </p> <p>WGU has changed my life. I'm currently a student in the Masters of Curriculum and Instruction program, where my new mentor, Erin Rain, has picked up exactly where Nileen left off. And then sometimes I think if I'd listened to six year old me, I would've become a teacher so many years ago. But honestly, I'm really thankful that I didn't because I would've missed out on the wonderful opportunity that is being a WGU student, and the second family that comes with it. I cherish that I will be a night owl for life. Thank you. [Applause] </p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: Thank you so much Kiran and Misty for sharing your stories with us. Let's give them another round of applause. [Applause] </p> <p>We will now recognize each of our bachelor degree graduates. [Cheers and applause] Would the candidates for bachelor's degrees, and post-baccalaureate teacher preparation endorsements please rise, including those of you watching through the webcast wherever you may be. Please rise everyone. [Applause] </p> <p>Okay, let's go! Upon the favorable recommendation of our faculty, and the authority vested in me, by the board of trustees, and member governors of Western Governors University, I hereby confer upon you the bachelors degree or endorsement you have earned to include the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, or the Post-baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Endorsement with all of the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. You may now move the tassel from the right to the left side of your mortarboard. [Cheers and applause] All right, that looks awesome! Congratulations on this important milestone in your lives, congratulations everybody. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Okay, now I'd like to ask you to be seated once again. [Cheers] The following leaders that's right, that's right. The following leaders from each of our colleges will now present the diplomas to our graduates. Jim Franklin, Academic Programs Director, College of Business; Dr. Jan Jones Shank, Academic Vice President, College of Health Professions; John Balderee, Academic Operations Vice President, College of Information Technology; and Dr. Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Academic Operations, Vice President, Teachers College. </p> <p>[Reading of Graduates]</p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: Graduates... [cheers and applause]... please accept our sincere congratulations. All of us at WGU are very proud of you and we welcome you into our community of alumni that is now 143,000 strong. [Applause] </p> <p>For many of you, earning your diploma is the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. The academic degree you have earned at WGU will open doors for you, and allow you to explore new opportunities. But it's important to remember, as they say, that commencement is not the end, but it represents a new beginning. I encourage you to explore your dreams, dare to discover, and above all else, follow your passions. </p> <p>Whatever you choose to do, do it as well as you possibly can, and great things will follow. Learning, as you know, is a lifelong journey and one that's now a habit of both your mind and your heart. I urge you, as you continue your journey, to reach out to others in pursuit of their dreams, identify meaningful ways to contribute to your communities, and to your neighborhoods, and help us to find our way as a united country, to a brighter pathway for our children, and our children's children. [Applause] </p> <p>Now here comes the corny part. I always like to take a selfie at the end of graduation so I can post it on my Twitter account, truth be told, and so that children can mock me. [Laughter] So I'd like Spencer to come up. Let's take a selfie with everybody in the background. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Thank you. As you celebrate on social media, and I hope you will, please remember to use the hashtag "WGUGrad." That is not only to commemorate this moment, this heroic moment in your history, but it's also to encourage other WGU folks in our community who are on this path and to give them the encouragement to get there. </p> <p>This concludes our commencement ceremony. I hope you all go out with your family and friends and have an amazing time. [Cheers and applause] Please remain seated until our graduates have filed out, and then family members, you can follow out behind them. Thanks so much, congratulations. [Cheers and applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)