Ashford University Set to Graduate Largest Class Ever

Thousands plan on traveling to Clinton, Iowa for commencement ceremonies

An estimated 1,600 graduates, plus an estimated 8,000 guests, from 48 states and four foreign countries will travel to Clinton for Ashford University’s spring 2012 commencement ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. The spring graduating class is the largest in Ashford University's history and includes students who will travel to Clinton for commencement from as far away as Belgium, Germany, Burundi and the United Kingdom.

Internationally acclaimed motivational poet Sekou Andrews will give the keynote address at both ceremonies set to begin at 11 a.m. at Ashford University’s South Campus Athletic Complex, 1650 S. 14th St., Clinton.

Having almost 10,000 extra visitors to the area is a boon to the local economy, with an economic impact nearing $4 million, Clinton officials said.

“Once again the city of Clinton is thrilled that Ashford is hosting their graduation ceremonies here in late April. The economic impact of an event such as this, bringing over 9,600 people to our city for two days, is phenomenal,” said Marsha Smith, director of the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau. “According to the formula which is given to individual convention and visitors bureaus by the Travel Federation of Iowa, the economic impact on the City of Clinton for a visit of this size is $3,898,176.  When an event like Ashford graduation comes to Clinton and attendees fill our hotels, eat in our restaurants and spend monies on transportation, businesses and employees alike are affected by this impact.”

Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich, a 1977 graduate of the former Mount St. Clare College, agreed with Smith, saying, “The upcoming Ashford University graduation has a tremendous economic impact on the Clinton community. The immediate impact is obvious. Hotels, restaurants and gas stations immediately receive the benefit of the influx of graduates and family members into our community for graduation weekend.  But there are long range intangible benefits that the community will not immediately realize. The influx of visitors to our community helps put Clinton on the map as a destination for future visits. As our slogan says, ‘things to do with a river view,’ Clinton has something to offer everyone. Whether your choice is professional theater, minor league baseball, history or beautiful parks that overlook the mighty Mississippi River, you will find it right here in Clinton, Iowa.”

Pearl Durand is among the Ashford University students planning to participate in one of Ashford’s commencement ceremonies. She will travel from Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands to receive her Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree; she is one of four recipients of the spring 2012 commencement scholarship, which covers the student’s expenses for airfare, lodging and car rental.

“Ashford University has taught me time management, prioritization, perseverance and that you can accomplish ‘anything’ if you maintain a high level of focus,” Durand said. After graduation she plans to enroll in a doctorate program and to eventually teach health and wellness in her community.

To accommodate the commencement events, two Clinton streets will be closed on April 28 and 29.  Harrison Drive from 14th Street to 22nd Avenue and 14th Street from U.S. 30 to South Bluff Boulevard will be closed to public traffic from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.


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.