The following local residents have received their degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The university held its 32nd semi-annual commencement ceremony at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando on February 11 and celebrated the graduation of more than 11,000 graduates.

* Stephanie Caldwell of Quaker City has received her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education.

* Scott Jones of Shadyside has received his Master of Science inManagement and Leadership.

At the commencement, the online, nonprofit university recognized 6,982 undergraduates and 4,476 graduates who have completed their degrees in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and healthcare, including nursing. Will Weatherford, Managing Partner of Weatherford Partners and Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, delivered the commencement address, and joined President Scott D. Pulsipher in honoring the more than 1,000 new alumni participating in the ceremony. Students who were not able to attend the ceremony in person were able to watch the event via live video stream on WGU's website.

WGU has made convenient and affordable higher education available to busy adults. Demand for its competency-based programs in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and healthcare can be seen in the year-over-year growth of WGU's national impact.

Forty percent of this year's graduates represent the first generation in their family to complete college. The average time to graduation for bachelor's degrees was 2 years, 3 months and the average time to graduation for graduate programs was 1 year, 9 months. Including this year's graduating class, WGU has more than 75,000 alumni to date with a current enrolled student body of over 79,000.

Designed to meet the needs of busy working adults, WGU competency-based model makes it possible for students to set their own study schedules and move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. While WGU's online degree programs are rigorous and challenging, adult learners are still able to earn their degrees without sacrificing work, family, and financial obligations. As a result, many students are able to accelerate their studies, finishing faster and saving money.