PULLMAN, Wash.–A meeting of the National Advisory Board of Western Governors University is scheduled this weekend in Denver, Colo., with Washington State University President Samuel Smith as a key participant. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the Denver Summit of the G-8 Conference attended by leaders of the major industrial nations.
The G-8 group, including officials of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom, gathers annually to discuss current economic issues.
Western Governors University trustees meet Saturday, June 21, to review the progress of the WGU concept. The program will be followed by a one-hour international press briefing at the Colorado Convention Center. About 200 of the 1,600 international journalists credentialed for the G-8 Conference are expected at the briefing.
President Smith will be a panel member along with Colorado’s host Gov. Roy Romer; Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah; Eric Benhamou, chair of the WGU National Advisory Board and CEO of 3Com Corp; and Paul Romer of the economics department at Stanford University.
The WGU is intended to expand higher educational opportunities by using advanced information technology to cross state and institutional lines, and will provide a means for assessing competencies acquired by students.
President Smith says the WGU is an exciting catalyst for change–change within higher education which must be made to serve the changing needs of individuals and society.
He believes the concept is an appropriate addition to higher education to assure availability to everyone desiring an education. It is not a threat to traditional higher education, it is a complement, he says. “Providing higher education, independent of geography and time, is an idea whose time has come. Our states, nation and the world will be better because of it.”

ar178