Meeting WGU Missouri
By Angie Besendorfer, Ph.D.
Chancellor, WGU Missouri
I’m often asked, “Where is WGU Missouri located?” My answer: “Everywhere!” And it’s true; we have either students or alumni in almost every county in Missouri. One of the best duties I have is to make WGU Missouri’s presence felt everywhere in the state. That’s why we host local events and help people make connections with others in the WGU Missouri family.
We have just come back from “mixing it up” around the state, traveling far and wide to meet our Night Owls at mixer events across Missouri. This fall, WGU Missouri has held mixers at:
- Frontenac Hilton in St. Louis
- Snow and Company in Kansas City
- Mythos in Joplin
- Ground Round in St. Joseph
- Bella Italia in Cape Girardeau
- Oasis in Springfield
- Shakespeare’s Pizza in Columbia
As chancellor, it is so inspiring to meet our students and alumni. I’m grateful that they share their WGU stories with us. I love to learn how our students found out about WGU Missouri, and I’m not surprised when they say it’s because of a friend who attends (or graduated from) WGU. We know that our students and alumni are the best recruitment tools we have. They can tell the real story from a student perspective. The fact that they share their stories is a great indication of their satisfaction with WGU Missouri.
Since August, we have visited a new area almost weekly. Attendees included students, alumni, their friends and family, and faculty and staff of WGU Missouri. At two of the mixers, current students were able to meet their mentors face-to-face for the first time. I love watching that happen! I have also witnessed job recruitment at these events. The value of networking is powerful when we get our WGU Missouri students and graduates together.
We have also invited students and alumni to other events as representatives of our university. We held an intimate alumni dinner in Kansas City to introduce WGU’s Manager of Alumni Relations, Matt Bunker. WGU Missouri students and alumni joined me at the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (WiSTEMM) gala, also in Kansas City. In St. Louis, students and alumni joined me at the St. Louis Chamber Annual Event. These types of events are great for making deeper connections in our communities. There will be more of these events in the future, so stay tuned for news and opportunities on Facebook and Twitter.
As a state affiliate of WGU, we are able to create the in-person aspect of our university for the people we serve: our students. At these events, I always challenge everyone in attendance to show their WGU Missouri pride. This creates awareness of the WGU Missouri difference, increasing the value and esteem of a WGU Missouri degree.
Our university has plenty to be proud of. Our Missouri enrollment has grown 130% from August 2013 to August 2014, and we are now part of a university with 50,000 students nationwide! Looking ahead, I’d like everyone to mark your calendars for two upcoming events hosted by WGU Missouri:
- WGU Missouri Day at the Capitol on January 21, 2015
- WGU Sage Talk at Mosaic Life Center in Liberty on February 12, 2015
More information will be coming out about both of these events as the time draws nearer.
We want to come see you. We are planning to host mixer events in the cities listed above about twice per year; however, we would love to travel to other towns too. You can help make that happen by growing the WGU Missouri presence in your location. I’m already looking forward to seeing you there!