A total of 145 graduates walked in the commencement ceremony held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.
“Many of these graduates probably thought this day would never come,” said Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “Each of them has worked extremely hard, balancing work and family commitments and still making time to earn their degree. As part of Drive to 55, our goal is to help Tennesseans succeed. We are extremely proud of the achievements of these students.”
Commencement speakers included four members of the graduating class and guest speaker Mark Cate, former chief of staff for Governor Haslam, and co-founder and president of the Stones River Group, a consulting firm.
“WGU Tennessee has enhanced my life, opened doors that would have remained closed, and has given me the confidence to pursue a path that would have only been a dream two years ago,” said Joel Chappell, one of the commencement speakers and a member of the graduating class. “It has been one of the great experiences of my life.”
Earlier this year, the state-endorsed, nonprofit online university celebrated its three-year anniversary. WGU Tennessee launched in 2013 as part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 college completion initiative. Enrollment is expected to eclipse 3,000 students within months, and this year’s graduating class is the largest yet.
WGU Tennessee enrolls students into its programs each month. Tuition is about $3,000 for a six-month term, during which students can complete an unlimited amount of coursework. 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 Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).*
In addition to WGU Tennessee, there are five 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; WGU Missouri, established in February 2013; and WGU Nevada, established in June 2015.
For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website, tennessee.wgu.edu, or call 855-948-8495.
*Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington, DC 20036, 202-877-6791).