Sidney Hoffmann

Sidney Hoffmann

Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management, 2013

“For me, being in the military is a full-time job, but my goals didn't take a back seat.”


Since she is deployed in Afghanistan, Sidney Hoffmann's father Tom Hoffmann accepted her degree on her behalf.

Recent Ashford graduate Sidney Hoffmann, 29, finished her degree while serving in the military on an agricultural mission in Afghanistan. Because of this commitment, she was unable to attend her commencement ceremony – but that didn’t stop her father from participating. He traveled with Sidney’s grandfather from Waxahachie, TX to Moline, IL to accept Sidney’s diploma in Human Resources Management on her behalf.

“Having a child complete a major milestone like getting their college degree is exciting and important,” her father Tom told us on the big day. “The only sad thing is that she’s not here to get it…but I have the honor to be able to do that in her absence.” He did so to a rousing standing ovation that moved many audience members to tears.

Sidney was deployed in November 2012, just after Thanksgiving, and she is set to return in October 2013. Once her military commitment is over, she aims to use her Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management degree to help launch a career in cyber security, melding her interests in human resources and information technology. 

“I really enjoyed Ashford for many reasons,” she told us via email. “For me, being in the military is a full-time job, but my goals didn't take a back seat. Ashford has so much to offer, from the Yellow Ribbon program to the extremely helpful faculty and staff members. The class lay out was very flexible, and I was able to participate even with just my smartphone at times! With the advancement in technology, I think Ashford's edge has been the ability to make school available to everyone. 

“There are no excuses not to try it!” she continued. “My education was my responsibility. I had to read and learn the material in order to participate. I came out with a 3.84 GPA because I was dedicated to my goal. If there is any advice I can pass on it is this: Everyone has excuses, but only you are in charge of your success. If you want it, you have to make the effort. No one else can do that for you.”

While visiting Ashford’s campus in Clinton, IA during commencement weekend, Ashford University President Dr. Richard Pattenaude presented Tom with a traditional military-style challenge coin to giving to Sidney upon her return. “Ashford’s been just unbelievably great, and the people are just super,” Tom raved. “The opportunity that she’s been able to have to finish her degree while she’s away has really made a huge difference. It’s through the abilities of Ashford and her being able to do this online that created her ultimate goal of getting a college degree.”