Lexington, N.C. Grad Wins Nationwide Competition To Sing National Anthem At Ashford University Commencement Ceremony On Oct. 14

Thousands of Ashford University online graduates and guests from across the country will be at the commencement ceremony on Oct. 14. Only one will perform the national anthem.

Chris Wells, earning a bachelor's degree with a dual major in social and criminal justice and organizational management, is the winner of a nationwide Ashford University competition to open the graduation event with his rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Students submitted audition videos, which were evaluated by the Ashford University Commencement Committee for clarity, musicality, melody, intervals and ease in relating to the audience. Top selections were posted to the Ashford University Facebook page, where students, alumni and guests voted for their favorite. Wells garnered the most "likes."

Wells, 39, began singing at his church when he was 12. "I grew up with a mom and dad who were singers and, along with my brother and sister, we had a family quartet in Martinsville, Va.," he said. To date, Wells’ biggest audience has been at a stadium of approximately 1,000 people at a minor league baseball game in Martinsville.

When Wells heard about the competition to sing at the Ashford University commencement, he was inspired to participate. "My family and friends were very supportive and strongly encouraged me," he said. "I met several fellow classmates face-to-face at a mixer here in North Carolina and they were supportive too."

In addition to singing and pursuing his higher education, Wells is a full-time employee at U.S. Xpress, a trucking company serving the continental Unites States and selected areas of Canada and Mexico. He plans to utilize his degree to advance his professional career.

Wells, who has never been to the Ashford University brick-and-mortar campus, will be traveling to the rolling hills of Clinton, Iowa for the very first time. He looks forward to experiencing the traditional campus and sharing his accomplishments with friends and fans. No doubt, it will be a proud occasion when he takes the stage to sing and dons a traditional cap and gown to receive his diploma.

To view Chris Wells' award-winning national anthem audition video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UvpEv3dBYU&feature=plcp.


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 (www.ncahlc.org). 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 www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.