Ashford University Graduates Record Number of Students in December

Student Awards Presented during AU's Winter Graduation Ceremony

A record 1,658 students graduated from Ashford University on December 13, 2008, with 221 of the graduates converging upon Ashford’s Clinton campus to receive their diplomas in the Durgin Educational Center. 

Of the 1,658 graduates, 1,321 received undergraduate degrees, while the remaining 337 received master’s degrees. Included in the December gradating class were 1,624 online and 34 campus-based students. 

“So many challenges, so many opportunities lie before you,” said commencement speaker Dr. Wayne Clugston, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and co-founder of Bridgepoint Education.  “By sitting where you are today, you’re telling me that you’re ready to engage them.  That’s impressive!  And your academic credentials will help you!   

“But let me remind you that your world is not Harry Potter’s world, where one day you notice a mark on your body (or a diploma in your hand) that sets you apart—and you discover that your role and destiny in a cosmic struggle are already determined.  That’s not the way it is,” continued Clugston.  “As you already know, to be an achiever in the ordinary world where we all live, you’ve got to figure things out for yourself.  You’ve got to find a place to stand, and then stand—and that’s what Ashford University has been preparing you to do.” 

Clugston told the graduates: “Our culture needs individuals to stand up for honesty, justice and integrity—and to be inspirational models of creativity and change. So, I’m especially grateful for the unique potential of our graduates, and I’m asking you to use what you’ve learned from the liberal arts, humanities, social sciences, and from your professional training, to make your family, your work, and your community better.  Humane.  Meaningful.” 

During the afternoon graduation ceremony, the University presented special student awards to:   

§ Arica Arensdorf, Dubuque, Iowa, and Tameka Bell, Clinton, Iowa, with the James L. Mooney Social Science Award, which recognizes the Social Science graduate with the highest grade point average;

§ Katie Buelow, Clinton, Iowa, with the Business Department’s Scholars Award, given to the highest ranking graduate in business; and

§ Sally Nelson, Clinton, Iowa, with the Joan Walsh Richeson Award, given to the liberal arts major who best personifies the values of a liberal arts education and the Alex Esquivel Promising Teacher Award, given to a teacher education graduate who shows exceptional potential as an educator. 

Prior to the commencement exercises, graduate students received their master’s degree hoods in a separate ceremony in Durgin Educational Center’s Kehl Arena. 

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 institutionsIts tagline is: “Higher Education Made Affordable”SM.  For more information, visit or call Shari Rodriguez, Director of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.