WGU strengthens commitment to underserved Utah student populations with new community relations liaison

Western Governors University (WGU) has named Gonzalo Peña the senior community relations liaison for Utah, further demonstrating its commitment to increasing access to affordable, in-demand university degree programs and creating pathways for opportunity.

In this role, Peña will work to build relationships with like-minded community partners and engage with underserved populations, such as communities of color and low-income student populations.

“This position is about making connections, and Gonzalo has a talent for building and strengthening relationships,” said Ismar Vallecillos, director of WGU’s Northwest Region. “Gonzalo’s passion will be an asset for WGU in our work to support and empower adult learners.”

WGU’s innovative, competency-based model is a great option for adult learners who need the flexibility to study around professional or family commitments. The university offers more than 60 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in in-demand industries such as business, information technology, nursing and teaching.

“I have followed WGU for many years and was impressed with the model of innovation and commitment to students,” Peña said. “Culturally, I knew WGU would be a good fit for me and my goals. My motivation has always been to make a difference and when I saw this position, I knew I could do that here.”

He brings a strong background in the arts, having performed with the Utah Opera from 2012-18 and currently serves on the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera’s Hispanic Task Force, working to integrate Latin people into the arts.

Additionally, Peña founded the Silicon Slopes Latino Chapter, which strives to integrate disadvantaged groups into the local technological ecosystem. Peña is the founder and producer of InnoLatino Podcast.