Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management, 2012
"My life has changed a lot as a result of being enrolled at Ashford."
In 1977, Leroy Staley promised his parents, Moses and Eula Staley, that he would earn a college education. “Both have passed away, but I am keeping that promise.” At 53, Leroy enrolled at Ashford University to earn his Bachelor’s degree online.
Leroy chose Ashford largely because it offered a program in his area of expertise - Sports & Recreation Management. His love of sports began when he was a young boy. “I got started in sports through the Boys & Girls Club when I was 11 years old, playing basketball. That’s how I got to where I am today.” In high school, Leroy maintained his relationship with the Boys & Girls Club, returning as a youth mentor. Then, after high school, his experiences and talent landed him a place on the Indiana State basketball team, where he played the same years as Larry Bird. “My best memory is probably the time we played against Michigan State and Magic Johnson. We returned from the trip on my birthday - that’s the biggest birthday party I have ever had!”
Due to various life events, Leroy was unable to complete his degree at Indiana State. Instead, he found work in the state corrections department. After a year-and-a-half, he was offered a position as Recreation Leader for the state prison. Thus began Leroy’s more than 30 year career as a correctional officer, which has included positions as Sports Specialist, Recreation Specialist, and Supervisor of Recreation in the state and federal prison systems.
Throughout his career, Leroy occasionally returned to the idea of finishing his degree, and when he moved to Mississippi a few years ago, he decided to take action. When still a student at Ashford, he told us, “I enjoy learning from the other students and hearing their ideas. I have had many great experiences with my classmates. I’ve also been pleased with how well my teachers instruct their online courses and impressed with how supportive the administration is to online students. My life has changed a lot as a result of being enrolled at Ashford. I have less time being bored here in Mississippi, and I feel more focused on my current job.” Leroy said he was proud to set an example for his sons, Demichael and Ladarius.
After he graduated at age 54, Leroy planned to retire and work with the Boys & Girls Club. “I found sports because of the Boys & Girls Club, so now I want to give back. I want to teach prevention and not only help kids to stay off the streets and out of prison, but also to achieve success in life.”