Poet to Address Ashford University's Class of 2012

1,600 students expected to travel to Clinton, Iowa to receive their diplomas

A poetic experience is in store for the estimated 1,600 students who will graduate from Ashford University this month when motivational poet Sekou Andrews presents the spring commencement address. Ashford’s two commencement ceremonies are set for 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29 at its South Campus, 1650 S. 14th St. in Clinton, Iowa.

In addition to the 1,600 students who are expected to travel to Clinton to receive their Ashford diplomas, another estimated 6,000 people will travel with them for the weekend. The record number of graduates necessitated having two ceremonies.

During the weekend, graduates will also have the opportunity to take tours of Ashford’s Clinton campus and to meet other students and professors at “Meet & Greet” events.

Raised in part in both Berkeley, CA and Washington DC, Andrews received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Pitzer College with plans to attend law school. However, he began teaching elementary school in south central Los Angeles, and as his fourth year of teaching concluded, he knew his voice was meant to reach further than the classroom, so he recorded his first spoken word CD.

Since then this poet, actor, musician and voice-over artist has won the National Poetry Slam championship twice, shared the stage with Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Maroon 5 and several symphony orchestras, and has been featured on ABC World News, MSNBC, Good Morning America, HBO, Showtime, MTV, BET and in several national commercial spots and three feature films. His work has inspired audiences across America through two national tours, “The Underground Poets Railroad” which traveled the route of the Underground Railroad to raise funds for the families of fallen firefighters on 9/11 and “Declare Yourself” which registered more than 1 million new voters. His first CD, a Kwanzaa holiday CD and his latest release, "Poetic License,” have each earned several awards, including album of the year and male artist of the year, making Andrews the most awarded artist in the nation's largest indie music organization.

In 2005 Andrews and Steve Connell formed a partnership and created two successful spoken word plays. "No Easy Choices" electrified crowds at the 12th annual HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO and "The Word Begins" - a journey exploring the power of words to define love, faith, race and humanity - enjoyed critical acclaim and three Helen Hayes Award nominations for its premiere runs in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA.

The duo has performed privately for Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Quincy Jones and Al Gore.


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.