WGU Names Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Council In Southeast Region


The council will be made up of 11 impactful leaders across the region

Established in 2022, the Western Governors University (WGU) Southeast Region Distinguished Alumni Council will help chart the path of progress for WGU in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Local community leader, Auchaia Farley will be serving on the council and provide insight for the needs of WGU students in Tennessee.

As a member of the Southeast Distinguished Alumni Council, Farley will serve as ambassadors in their states and communities as part of the council’s broader outreach on behalf of WGU.

“Auchaia has been seen as a leader in her community for years,” said Kimberly Estep, WGU Southeast Regional Vice President. “I look forward to working together to build and maintain a strong connection between WGU and its students throughout Tennessee. Our alumni network is one of WGU’s most important assets, both in Tennessee and throughout the country, and I cannot wait to see the incredible ways this council will come together and build a new foundation for WGU alumni everywhere.”

The 11 alumni council members serve a four-year term, providing strategic insights to Estep and other regional leadership. They will advise and strategize ways to increase awareness, reputation, visibility, and the impact of WGU by networking and advocating for equitable access to higher education.

Other members of the council include:

  • Auchaia Farley, Physician Assistant, Lavergne, Tenn.
  • Richelle Putnam, Author and Freelance Writer, Meridian, Miss.
  • Pepper Ginder, Informatics Education Coordinator at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Biloxi, Miss.
  • Peter G. McDermott, Sr. Director, Business Advisory Services for US & Canada Consumer Operations at Marriott International, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Jill Howard, Assistant Vice President, Behavioral Health Services at LifePoint Health, Brentwood, Tenn.
  • Colleen McEdwards, Ph.D., Journalism/Communications Professor, University of Florida’s Online Master’s Program for the College of Journalism and Communication Distance Learning, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Douglas Styler, Assistant VP, Supply Chains Systems, HCA Information Technology Group, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Maureen Stover, Online Science Teacher, North Carolina Virtual Public School, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Laura Gentry, CEO at Atrium Health Navicent Peach, Byron, Ga.
  • Dr. Johannah B. Williams, Dean of the STEM Division at Nashville State Community College, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Angela Hinson Quick, Ed.D., MBA, Senior VP of Education, RTI International, Willow Spring, N.C.

“I am honored to join the other 10 WGU alumni on the Southeast Distinguished Alumni Council and help spread the word about WGU’s affordable and flexible degree programs,” said Farley. “My time at WGU prepared me for my career in innumerable ways, and I’m honored to be able to give back to a school that gave me so much.”

For more information about WGU, visit wgu.edu.

About WGU
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online nonprofit WGU now serves more than 134,000 students nationwide and has more than 284,000 graduates in all 50 states. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, WGU is recognized as a highly effective postsecondary education model. Learn more at wgu.edu.