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A Note from West's President
Hats Off to the Class of 2013!
Grad Reflections
Upcoming Career Event!
Words of Wisdom
Leverage Your Alumni Status


Volume 3  |  Issue 3

June 2013



One of my favorite times of the year is graduation. I love being at the school and talking with students who are nearing their graduation, hearing from new graduates, and also participating in our annual commencement ceremony. I would like to congratulate the Class of 2013 and welcome our newest grads to our West Alumni community!  West has more than 8,000 alumni, and you should all take advantage of networking with your fellow West graduates.


By now you may have heard about or seen some of the recent changes around West. In addition to our new Tempe campus, those of you who are currently master program students have experienced the new my.west.edu student portal and the discontinuation of eBook fees.

Early in May, we announced that we will be implementing an improved course format along with a new tuition pricing structure for our online classes. West’s commitment to staying current in how we deliver education in a world where technology is constantly changing is one of the many things which makes West unique and makes me truly proud to be the president of this great school.

We had the opportunity to pilot the online course changes with current West students before the new course format was approved for rollout. Below are just two of the overwhelmingly positive comments we received as feedback from the pilot course participants:

"To me, this pilot course was a big success. I am only sad that it is coming at the end of my school career."

"Years ago, I earned my bachelor degree at West, and when I came to the realization that it would be advantageous to have my master degree, continuing my education at West was a given. The new online format allowed me to 'go to class' when it best fits my schedule during the week, and sometimes just when I feel the most ready to learn and absorb the information — instead of just because it's Tuesday night. No longer was I subject to 'man, it’s been a rough day, just not in the mood or mindset to learn' and then drifting in and out of focus on the weekly lecture. Now I can log in and view lectures and read and study when it's the most convenient and advantageous to my learning process. This really increased my learning retention and focus, and I truly believe I learned more in this class because I was doing it on my terms, when I knew my brain was ready to absorb."

Please remember that the true value of your West degree is a function of both your professional experience and your academic accomplishments. Earning your degree from West is an accomplishment of which you can always be proud. Also remember that education is a life-long endeavor. If you are interested in continuing your education with a master degree, there has never been a better time to Go West! Click here to learn more about our new online tuition and course format.

I truly appreciate the commitment demonstrated by each of you in earning your degree, and I am proud to count you among our esteemed West Alumni.


Tracy K. Lorenz

Tracy Lorenz


After all their hard work, the "big day" finally came for this year's graduating Western International University® (West) students! Graduation was held on May 18 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Highlights from the ceremony included inspirational speeches by commencement speaker Nobu Hara and student speaker Heather Davis. Two faculty members received awards for their outstanding contributions to West: Liz Matthieson-Jones and Dr. Shalanda Moten.


Commencement speaker Nobu Hara's speech was about leadership — a topic he is well versed in. As Senior Vice President of Human Capital for Goodwill of Central Arizona, Nobu has led the organization in establishing itself as one of the Valley's "Best Places to Work." Nobu gave our graduating students a lot to think about as they contemplate their own leadership roles and opportunities in their careers and communities.

Student speaker Heather Davis, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, spoke about the true value of education, beyond its ability to increase one's earning power. Reflecting on her own life experiences (which included the loss of her home to a fire), Heather offered some thought-provoking insights into how:

  • The value of education can be realized when we dream of accomplishing what others told us we should not or could not do.

  • The value of education is felt in the sense of triumph when we have that diploma placed in our hands and realize education is the one thing no one can ever take away from us.

  • The value of education will come into focus as our self-esteem improves, when we realize we can do anything we set our minds to.

Reflecting on graduation day, Heather said "People discouraged me from going back to school, saying that I should focus on a job and taking care of my kids. But I still did it, and look what I have. No one can take that away."

Two faculty members received awards at the commencement ceremony. Congratulations to Liz Matthieson-Jones, a marketing instructor who was selected by West administration to receive this year's President's Award, and Dr. Shalanda Moten, a behavioral science instructor who was nominated by students to receive the Distinguished Faculty Award.

Congratulations, again, to each and every 2013 graduate. You did it, and you should be proud!

class of 2013

Career/Alumni Services Manager
Western International University
Tempe, Arizona

Graduating this May with a Master of Arts in Innovative Leadership is West's own Laura Lee — manager of Career/Alumni Services. While Laura knew that getting her master degree would give her the skills she needed to stay competitive, a driving force behind her decision to go back to school wasn't a professional one — it was personal.


Why did you decide to go back to school?

I knew that I needed new skills and knowledge in order to stay competitive globally. Earning my master degree has also always been part of my professional development goals. But what became increasingly important to me was getting my degree so I could be a role model for my daughter and prove to her that I practice what I preach.

Even though you work at West, you didn't have to go to school here. Why did you?

Before I worked at West, I was a student here and earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.* So I was already familiar with West's flexibility to accommodate busy adult schedules like mine. I knew I could go to school and continue to manage my career as well as volunteer at my daughter's extracurricular activities. Beyond the flexibility, I knew that my classroom learning at West could be applied immediately to my career.

Looking back over your experience as a West student, what stands out the most?

The joy of learning from experienced experts and the satisfaction of ending each course with better insights into myself and my career.

What would you tell someone who is considering West?

Going to West means thinking futuristically, globally and outside the box. It's not just about being confined to a classroom with peers who are focused on just the next paper or grade. This is why I call West a rare diamond. The education here is innovative with a global perspective and features world-class professors who value individual learning and thinking.

Laura Lee


On June 27, we will be hosting a networking event to give new graduates the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow alumni. Unlike many other alumni events throughout the year, there will be no speaker — it's purely a time for you to network!

Complimentary drinks and appetizers will be served. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today.

DATE: June 27, 2013
TIME: 5:30-7:30 p.m. (MST)
PLACE: My Wine Cellar
5030 E. Warner Road
Ahwatukee, AZ
RSVP: laura.lee@west.edu

networking graduates


We asked alumni from previous graduating classes to send in tips and words of advice to the Class of 2013. Their responses were thoughtful and included everything from finding a mentor and following your passion, to using a firm handshake and dressing for success.


From past alumni, here are words of wisdom for our new West grads:

"During an interview, be yourself, be positive and think before you speak."

"Keep business cards on you at all times. You never know when a conversation will turn into a connection."

"Always have a smile on your face when you greet someone. The first 30 seconds of meeting someone new are the most impactful."

"At networking events, don't over-focus on yourself. Ask engaging questions of others to draw them into the conversation."

"If you have a dream job in mind, set up a short appointment with people who have that job. They will be flattered, and you will gain insights."

"Don't let someone else define possible or impossible for you."

"It's best to dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

"Prepare well for an interview or even when asking for a promotion. Have clear examples of your accomplishments, as well as how you faced and solved challenges. Also, have a ready list of your transferrable skills."

"Explore what you want out of your career. Seek those things that deeply move, touch and inspire you."

"Once you know your career path, figure out what additional skills, experiences, education or certifications you need. Then go make it happen incrementally, one step at a time."

Thank you to all of our West alumni for sharing these words of advice!

words of wisdom


If you just graduated, welcome to the West Alumni Connection! You have already been registered on our alumni website and should have received an email with your login and password. If you aren't able to log in, please email us for assistance. Be sure to login at west.edu/alumni to update your profile and password, and then start taking advantage of all that the West Alumni Connection has to offer.


Membership in the West Alumni Connection entitles you to many valuable benefits, including:

  • Access to the West Alumni Directory to help you connect with fellow grads and broaden your network.

  • Shopping privileges at University Marketplace, where you can get discounts on everyday purchases and earn cash back rewards.

  • Access to the Employer Network, so you can view job listings that might be of interest to you.

  • Complimentary career services, like Fast Track Career Tools and one-on-one coaching with a certified career coach, who can help you map out a career path, create an effective resume, improve your interview skills and more.

  • This quarterly e-newsletter, where you will find everything from event announcements and networking opportunities, to career tips and alumni features.

Put the career and networking resources of the West Alumni Connection to work for you!

West Alumni Connection



West alumni and students came together in April for a career event focused on "Crafting Your Pitch." Those who attended learned the elements of a successful pitch and how it can be used effectively to sell yourself in a job interview or networking event. After the event, one attendee said: "I didn't realize how helpful it can be to actually draft your pitch and then practice it!


The following are just a few of the pitch-crafting tips that were discussed at the event:

Event attendees were able to practice their pitch by recording it with West's OptimalResume™ Video Resume Tool. You can use this tool yourself to record your pitch and share it with contacts, prospects and across social networks. West OptimalResume is a complimentary service for all West alumni and students!

You've got your diploma — it's time to show your school pride! Shop at the online West Store, where you'll find a variety of West merchandise, from shirts to sport bags. Go to shopweststore.com to check out all of the West items, and while you’re there, sign up for special offers. You can also purchase e-Certificates for your favorite West students or alumni, in increments of $10, $25, $50 and $100. Happy shopping.

Link up with us on LinkedIn® and be instantly connected with over 600 West community members. Log on, and you’ll be able to share your profile, find valuable resources, learn about jobs and internships, and more.
Connect on LinkedIn.

You can also connect with us on Facebook®, and post comments, photos or videos and keep up with West news.
Visit us on Facebook.

The more active you are in the West Alumni community, the more people you'll meet and networking opportunities you'll have. Be sure to attend our career and networking events, and consider becoming a mentor.
As a mentor, you will meet fellow alumni and active students, and have the chance to help them accomplish their educational or professional goals.
Find out more.

Laura Lee
Alumni/Career Resources Manager
602-429-1110 or laura.lee@west.edu

Alumni Reenrollment
866-948-4636 or inquiries@west.edu




*For complete program information, please visit our website at http://www.west.edu/online-degree-programs

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