Ashford University to Present First Surviving Spouse Scholarship and First Posthumous Degree

Presentation event to be held in Pocasset, Mass. on Sept. 19

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford University will honor deceased U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Robert "Bobby" Buotte Jr. and his surviving spouse Marilyn "Mal" Hughes at an awards ceremony on Sept. 19 in Pocasset, Mass.  Buotte will be the first recipient of Ashford's new Posthumous Degree and Hughes the first recipient of Ashford's new Surviving Spouses Scholarship.

Ashford University recently introduced its Surviving Spouses Scholarship, a scholarship that will award tuition, books and additional benefits to the spouses of fallen service members who attended Ashford University.  The university has also established a process for awarding posthumous degrees to students who were close to completion, but passed away just prior.

"Ironically, it was Buotte's death that inspired the scholarship," stated Doug Barling, senior director of military relations for Ashford University.  "Just hours after I heard about Robert's passing, I began to draft the Ashford University Surviving Spouses Scholarship and now, nearly a year later, the first recipient of the scholarship turns out to be Robert's wife!"  

The award presentation will begin at 6 p.m. at the Pocasset Golf Club following a benefit golf tournament in memory of Chief Warrant Officer Buotte.  Barling will present Hughes with both her late husband's bachelor of arts diploma and her surviving spouses scholarship.  More than 100 friends and family members are anticipated to attend the ceremony to honor Buotte's life.

Buotte, a former Ashford University student and Coast Guardsman, passed away unexpectedly in late October 2010.  He had been a distinguished member of the U.S. Coast Guard for 28 years and resided in South Yarmouth, Mass.  During Buotte's service, he was awarded the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, four Coast Guard Achievement Medals, and two Commandant Letters of Commendation.  

"Ashford University deeply values its relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces," stated Barling.  "We extend benefits not only to those who wear the uniform, but also to their spouses, Department of Defense (DOD) employees, civilian employees of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as students using Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits."

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (  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, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.

Contact: Shari Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Public Relations
858.513.9240 x2513 [email protected]

SOURCE Ashford University