Ashford University Visits the California Capitol

University president accompanies students and alumni to meet with legislators in Sacramento


Ashford University President and CEO Dr. Richard Pattenaude accompanied Ashford students and alumni to the state capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The Ashford contingent met with California government officials as part of a “Hill Day” event on February 20.

Seventeen California students and graduates in the Ashford Advocates Program were selected from numerous applicants to participate in the event. Candidates were chosen based on GPA, university standing, and a one-on-one interview. The experience allowed them to grasp a greater understanding of the legislative process and engage in civic participation.

Hill Day provided more than an incredible learning experience for these individuals. It gave them the chance to address public policy issues that directly impact Ashford. During the visit, Ashford Advocates shared their educational experiences with legislators.

“My motivation to participate in Hill Day was the opportunity to present my experiences at Ashford University with elected officials who vote on legislation that directly affects higher education in California,” said Ashford student Ivan Gutierrez.

“I have a strong belief in the online education format,” said Hill Day participant Ken Almond. “Without this format, it would have been impossible to obtain my degree due to work and life requirements.”

Several students and alumni cited speaking with Dr. Pattenaude as one of their most rewarding memories. Other unforgettable encounters included interactions with the Speaker of the California State Assembly John Pérez, Secretary of CalVets Peter J. Gravett, and California Assemblymember Steve Fox. The positive impact participants felt they made on these politicians and others was extremely gratifying. Ashford Advocates expressed how legislators were responsive to the stories and underlying messages communicated by each student. 

Previous Hill Day events have occurred in Washington D.C. and Iowa, and additional activities have included trips to district offices in various states. Capitol visits have continued to be organized for members of the Ashford Advocates Program since 2010. This trip was the first in which Dr. Pattenaude participated since becoming university president last year.


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. 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 Winet Rodriguez, vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.