"If my story can motivate at least one person to decide to create opportunities, then I think my time was worth it.”
Chris Klasen enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1997. If there were a degree for “World Traveler” he would have earned it, having visited Hawaii, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Spain, Greece, and Turkey, just to name a few places. His experience is not unlike other men and women in the armed forces, and so it just made sense for Chris to find a university where the world could be his campus.
“There are plenty of resources available for help, and I wanted something online that was flexible,” he said. “Ashford seemed to fit those requirements, and I decided to make a call.”
That wasn’t the only reason Chris chose to go to school and earn his degree. At 35, he’d had a successful career – even working as a technician for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels – but was uncertain about his options beyond the military. Although he’d earned his high school diploma and attended Navy schools for avionics, leadership, and management, he knew higher education was key to unlocking his full potential.
“I noticed that my friends who retired without a degree were having trouble finding employment,” he said. “I wanted to create opportunities [for myself], and there are military benefits to take advantage of that pay for higher education.”
Chris enrolled in Ashford’s Bachelor’s in Business Administration program and relied on the flexibility of an online format to finish school while working full-time and supporting his family. Despite his busy schedule, Chris found time to take full advantage of what Ashford had to offer. He became a CHAMPS peer mentor, sharing his knowledge with fellow students, and he was also accepted into the Golden Key International Honour Society, an accolade bestowed only to students in the top 15 percent of their class.
Chris set high expectations for himself, and ended up finishing school with a 3.97 GPA when he completed his final course in January 2015. He hoped his success would inspire his son, who found it funny when his father came home with homework every night.
“Sometimes life will dish out ‘not right nows’ but that doesn’t mean it has to be a ‘never,’” he said. “I hope to be an inspiration not only to my family but to everyone in and out of my life. If my story can motivate at least one person to decide to create opportunities, then I think my time was worth it.”