Ashford University Graduation Day and Wedding Day All in One Day

Hundreds of online students from across the country traveled to snow-covered Clinton, Iowa, for graduation ceremonies held Dec. 12, where one bold graduate decided to turn a single celebration into two by getting married on the same day she graduated. 

Tricia Giordano, 34, of Tampa, Fla., graduated with an online master's degree in Organizational Management at 1 p.m. in the university’s gymnasium. She then made a quick change from her cap and gown to a wedding gown, walked across campus to the chapel, and got married at 3 p.m. Her married name is printed on the diploma. 

Giordano’s mother, from Naples, Fla., was the maid of honor. Her father, from Maine, walked her down the aisle. Many other family members, including the groom's mother, from Tennessee, were also there for both ceremonies. 

"Our families wanted to come to Clinton for my graduation, so it was an ideal opportunity to have everyone together to share in our wedding too," Giordano said. 

Before the ceremonies, she had never been to Ashford University's brick and mortar campus. "It's beautiful. With the hills and historic brick buildings, it looks like an Ivy League school.” 

Giordano went on to say that both events were beyond her expectations. Adding that even some of her online classmates, whom she had never met face-to-face, chose to attend her wedding. 

"Ashford University was amazing. I was only expecting to have my bouquet of flowers but, at the last minute, the president of the university arranged for wonderful music and floral arrangements,” added Giordano. 

"Minutes before the wedding, an incredibly talented student volunteered to play," said Jane McAuliffe, chief executive officer and president of Ashford University. "He played from the heart with no music in front of him and it was amazing. About 30 of Ashford's staff attended the ceremony, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house." 

"One event magnified the other," Giordano said. "I had two major rites of passage back-to-back, plus the opportunity to share both of them with my family." 

"I received my degree as an online student and coming to graduation took me to a new reality and level of appreciation for Ashford University. Being at graduation was the most tangible form of my academic experience," she said. 

Ashford University's online graduates represent the face of nontraditional online learners - working parents, military war veterans, career enhancers, career launchers and scholarship winners. According to the Sloan Consortium, online education enrollments now surpass traditional college enrollments by a 5 to 1 ratio. 

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, director of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.