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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jonathan Allen, Summer 2012

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jonathan Allen, Summer 2012
Western Governors University
<p>Jonathan Allen is from Streamwood, Illinois, and graduated from Western Governors University's online Business college. A single father of a teenage son, Jonathan found his WGU degree program served two purposes: The degree gives him the credentials he needs to advance in his career and build a more secure future for himself and his son, and the shared experience as students helped bring him and his son closer together. Jonathan plans to follow up his bachelor's degree with an MBA from WGU, and he aspires to start his own independent consulting firm.</p> <p>He shared his story as a graduate speaker at WGU's 23rd commencement ceremony in Salt Lake City on July 14, 2012.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>WGU summer class of 2012, that sounds good. First of all, I would like to thank the 19 governors who helped found WGU. Your vision, dedication, and decision to work together has allowed me, Jonathan Allen, Junior, to stand here today as a WGU College graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in marketing management. It is an honor to be chosen to speak here today.</p> <p>What started for me as a decision to get a degree because everyone said I should have one instead created an opportunity to be a fellow student with my teenage son. Instead of, "do your homework," it became "let's do our homework together." Sometimes struggling to find that common bond, as a lot of parents do with their teenage children, my son and I found it in an unexpected place and he and I have never been closer. I am proud that as he is here to see me today with my beautiful mom and sister. [Applause]</p> <p>What started out as a chance to make my resume look better instead became chance to learn practices and procedures through the unique curriculum here at WGU that have made me more efficient in the workplace. I have learned new and improved ways of doing things. I am more confident in my abilities and what I've learned at WGU began to improve my career well before graduation. What started out as a chance to better my credentials instead became a process of bettering myself. This journey has given me all the things that I hope for and so many additional things that I could not have expected.</p> <p>As a single father, I have to provide financially. There is no luxury of taking time off to be a student. With Western Governors University, effort is mandatory but my ability to earn a living was never compromised. I am so glad that I made the decision to further my education at WGU. I was first attracted to Western Governors University because of the online environment, which allowed me flexible hours and the affordable tuition, which I know from shopping around is the best value out there, but what I received was so much more. I initially attended WGU in 2006, but I quit after a few months because I felt I could not sacrifice hours of work for study.</p> <p>When I returned to WGU in November of 2010, I found a university that had clearly been focused on continually finding ways to grow and improve. I was absolutely amazed by the enhancements WGU had incorporated for us students in just a few short years. In 2006, I sometimes still used physical books. As one of the few students who can say I was with the university in both 2006 and 2012, I have a unique time perspective and a great appreciation for the impact of WGU's continued improvements.</p> <p>Although, I fully expected to overcome any obstacles to graduate, WGU's upgraded user free learning environment implemented improvements, made things much more accommodating for me. With a full-time job, a full-time family, and as a full-time student, I can appreciate anything that makes things more convenient.</p> <p>Having access to my degree plan, business community, and course curriculum on the go and in so many technology driven formats was a game changer for me. More than just the technology has progressed since 2006. The course mentors, my student mentor, administrative departments, everything at WGU seemed to work more efficiently and coherently with one purpose in mind: To empower the student with what he or she needs to be successful not only academically, but professionally as well. So to the pioneers who had the integrity to put the student experience first, the creativity to think of such wonderful enhancements and the dedication to implement them, I would like to sincerely say thank you. [Applause]</p> <p>To that end, I would like to give a special thank you to my student mentor Melissa Dempsey. [Applause] I could literally set my watch by our Tuesday 5:00 p.m. appointments. Melissa, your belief was contagious. Having started and not finished before, there was room for doubt. With your exuberance, consistency, and expectation of success, there was never any question, we were graduating. You were an exceptional mentor, but you're an even better person.</p> <p>Although, I don't have time to name all of them individually, I would also like to express my appreciation for all my course mentors. You're willingness to meet, host online webinars, keep flexible hours, update blogs; the list of efforts goes on and on, and clearly demonstrates your dedication and passion for education.</p> <p>One of my favorite quotes is, "It doesn't matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go," by Bob Proctor. I posted that in my office at work because at the end of an exhausting workday, I sometimes needed a reminder of why I still had work to do. Everyone in this graduation class is here because we saw an opportunity to enhance the abilities that improve our lives and as a byproduct of that, improve the lives of those close to us. Those we love.</p> <p>Many people have opportunities presented to them. What separates this class today is that each of us saw an opportunity for growth and we seized it. We took the challenges that came along with it, the long steady hours each week. Less time for social activities. Sometimes less time with family and for some less time to even earn a living. We held on during those frustrating valleys and we maximized and were encouraged during those euphoric hills. Some of us overcame financial obstacles. Others overcame time constraints, some others naysayers.</p> <p>Many graduates in this class had to work hard academically to understand new or unfamiliar subjects, but we made it. No matter where you were then, or how long ago, what you had to do, you are a 2012 graduate of Western Governors University. [Applause] You started it and you finished it. You are further today as a college graduate than you were yesterday.</p> <p>If you can graduate college, when many people including yourself at times may not have believed it possible. What else can you do? WGU graduates of 2012, what can you accomplish? The answer is as unlimited as your ambition. This is the end of one journey that opens the door to the beginning of many other journeys.</p> <p>Let me be one of the first to tell you, we are the WGU class of summer 2012 and we are nowhere compared to where we're going to go. We are WGU. Continue to help build this non-traditional university. Let's stay in touch with each other. Let's share and applaud each other's successes and make the next 15 years even better than the first 15 years. Follow your dreams class of 2012 because dreams do come true if you have the courage and dedication to pursue them. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)