WGU creates Distinguished Alumni Council in Utah

If you had a question and needed an accurate answer, where would you go? Straight to the source.

Western Governors University’s alumni are the expert source. They’ve mastered the school’s competency-based curriculum. They’ve juggled school, work, family and life. They offer a unique, boots-on-the-ground perspective about what it takes to earn a college degree as a busy adult learner.

WGU is proud to announce the creation of its Distinguished Alumni Council in Utah to create additional opportunity for adult learners in this state. These alumni council members are eager to share personal stories about how their educational pathway has impacted their family and career journeys. They also will help weave together WGU alumni to provide a network of workforce and philanthropic partnerships for the benefit of current and future students.

The council is made up of nine individuals: Andrea Davis, Chris Lovewell, Cole Younger, Hugo Inclan, Jordan DeMoux, Kevin Jensen, Manu Sood, Tara Larkin, and Tyler Yates. They, along with members of WGU’s leadership, met together for the first time on April 20th, to discuss the impact that WGU can have on individuals’ lives and careers as well as share their stories of how WGU has helped them.

Members of the council come from diverse backgrounds and career paths, but they have all benefited from the flexibility and competency-based learning that WGU offers. Tara Larkin is currently a Strategic Planning Partner at Intermountain Healthcare and said, “WGU is one of the reasons I have had such a successful career. I could not have pursued the next phase of my career had I not been able to do it through WGU; it really helped me launch into the next 20 years of my career.”

The majority of WGU students are working adults who benefit from the flexibility and relevance of the competency-based programs that the university offers. As a nonprofit institution, WGU is committed to keeping tuition costs low. Most WGU degree programs are approximately $7,000 per year – about half as much as comparable universities.  WGU’s online, competency-based model allows students to study and learn whenever and wherever it is convenient and at a pace that fits their lifestyles. The university is well-suited for busy, working adults as well as traditionally underserved student populations.

“Everybody has potential, everyone has greatness inside of them. It’s just a matter of helping them discover it, and I think one of the best ways to do that is through college education,” said Distinguished Alumni Councilmember Jordan DeMoux, Regional Director of Education for FranklinCovey Education. “Western Governors University does a great job of doing that for its students, and for me, [being on the Distinguished Alumni Council] is about giving back.”

Ismar Vallecillos, regional director for Utah operations, was an adult learner himself and knows the sacrifices it takes to be successful.

“Earning my degree as an adult learner changed the trajectory of my career and opened the doors of opportunity. The DAC members have done the same thing and like me, are eager to share the value of a WGU degree with others still trying to find their career path,” he said.

Utah’s Distinguished Alumni Council will join WGU in celebrating its 25th Anniversary at community events in the state this year and at the university’s commencement ceremony in Salt Lake City this August.