Ashford Student has ties to University Mascot

Working Mom Finds Herself Attneding College on the Same Campus as Her Costumed Creation

Sarah Bogue helped create a St. Bernard mascot costume for Ashford University in 2006, never realizing that, three years later, she would be an Ashford student, taking night classes at its Clinton, IA campus. 

In the spring of 2006, when Ashford University needed a costume for “Champ,” its St. Bernard mascot, it chose Facemakers, Inc. of Savanna, IL. “We have made costumes for movies, Disney and many other companies around the world,” Bogue said. “We are most famous for Smokey the Bear.  I took part in the production of Smokey, and I’m proud to say that I also took part in the making of our Ashford University mascot, ‘Champ.’”  

Champ has become a familiar and popular character on Ashford’s campus and in the community since his debut in May 2006. 

Bogue, who began working at Facemakers in 2005, attended Highland Community College for two semesters after graduating from Mt. Carroll High School in 1999, and had often thought about continuing her college education. 

“I learned about the Ashford ASPIRE program in conversation with a friend.  I explained to her that I wanted to go back to school but wasn’t sure how I would find the time to balance everything,” Bogue said.  “Working full time and being a single mother, I couldn’t even imagine where to start.  I had many concerns such as finding time, finding a babysitter, and finding the finances I would need.  I also considered what it would cost to purchase books and a computer.  I was barely making ends meet as it was. I asked myself ‘how can I extend any further when living paycheck to paycheck?’” 

ASPIRE (Accelerated, Specialized, Personal, Innovative, Rewarding Education) is Ashford University’s program designed for working adults and those with uncompleted degrees. Students attend accelerated five-week Bachelor's or six-week Master's programs at the campus in Clinton during the evenings and can earn their degree in as few as 16 months. Classes are taken only one night per week.

In May 2009, Bogue enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management program. “I decided to continue my education now, at age 28, after becoming a mother.  I wanted to obtain a goal that would better me and my three-year-old daughter.  I want her to strive in life and learning from ‘home’ is where it begins.  Being older, I see education as a privilege and I take it seriously.  Years before, I did not, she said. 

“I chose Ashford because it has the ASPIRE program. ASPIRE enabled me to enroll with financial assistance, manageable hours, and be around always pleasant and helpful people.  I enjoy the students, and it’s a relief knowing they are on the same path as me. The common ground I share with other students is a comfort. When it seems I’m the only one stressing over a paper or test, I can chat with a fellow student friend and be reminded that I’m not alone.  I enjoy being on campus, but having the ability to attend online classes is a great option as well.” 

Bogue said she likes the format of the ASPIRE program because it allows her to spend time with her daughter. “Only having to travel one night a week is easier than trying to schedule day classes around work and other appointments.  I like the ASPIRE program because it’s only one class at time – for four hours a night, one night a week, for five weeks.” 

Bogue is feeling the impact of her Ashford experiences in many aspects of her life. “Attending college has affected me, my home and my family.  I have higher self esteem and increased motivation in accomplishing my goals,” she said. “When my daughter asks, ‘Are you going to school mom?,’ I smile. Her smile in return makes the harder days worth the struggle.  She thinks it’s ‘cool’ that we both go to school. 

“School has given me a perspective of what’s important in life,” continued Bogue.  “My family is proud that I have taken the steps forward to accomplishing goals.  I hope that one day they will watch me graduate and walk across the stage to victory.” 

Very likely, Champ will be there to congratulate her as she receives her diploma on graduation day. 

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is a coeducational institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, accounting, criminal and social justice, computer animation and graphic design, and other areas.  The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus.  Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology.  The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable on-campus and online programs, with tuition fees among the lowest in the U.S. compared to other private institutions.  Its tagline is: “Higher Education Made Affordable”SM.  For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, director of Public Relations, at 858/513-9240 x2513.