Ashford Universeity Graduate Honored for Excellence, Achievement and Talent in Capitol Hill Ceremony

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) awarded its highest honor, the Graduate Recognition for Excellence, Achievement and Talent (GREAT) Award, to Ashford University graduate Debra Stewart in a March 7 ceremony on Capitol Hill. 

“I am speechless. I am very excited, honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Stewart. “I can only imagine that there are so many people who are doing great things.”

Stewart, of Laura, Ohio, was one of five honorees recognized for demonstrating excellence in outstanding academic and personal achievement. She earned her Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology degrees at Ashford University.

 Stewart, who grew up an orphan on an Indian reservation, overcame many obstacles on her road to receiving the GREAT Award. In her 50s, Stewart went back to college to complete her bachelor’s degree. She then discovered Ashford University’s progressive online platform and was encouraged to continue her education. Ashford’s flexibility and support allowed her to pursue additional degrees while tending to her many other responsibilities, including caring for her husband who was diagnosed with dementia. She has now completed two master’s degrees with Ashford University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Psychology, Educational Leadership and Health and Wellness Psychology Specialization degree online at University of the Rockies.

With more than 15 years experience in the healthcare industry, Stewart is the director of wellness for the St. Leonard senior living community. She was instrumental in facilitating the non-profit organization’s certification as the first Vital Life Community in the nation, which she calls her greatest professional achievement thus far. Stewart also teaches for Sinclair Community College, owns a company called Picture Yourself Stronger that offers corporate wellness programs to various organizations, and serves on the advisory boards of Mental Health Technology and Vital Nation.

After years of working with dementia patients, Stewart was inspired to pursue her most recent project: developing the “Learning Styles Inventory Tool” to help caregivers communicate with individuals who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The tool has been successfully piloted and is now in the process of being implemented at St. Leonard as part of Stewart’s dissertation for her doctorate program. 


About Ashford University

Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor’s degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.


About University of the Rockies

University of the Rockies is an advanced graduate institution for tomorrow’s thought leaders. The University provides an intimate and dynamic learning environment, offering highly specialized master’s and doctoral degree programs in the social and behavioral sciences, access to industry experts, campus clinical programs for practical experience, and research and publishing opportunities. University of the Rockies is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( Small by design, University of the Rockies classes are presented in a progressive online format and at its Colorado Springs, Colorado, campus. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 866.621.0124 x2513.