Ashford Graduates Showcase Creativity on Commencement Caps

ashford university decorated graduate caps

“We get to decorate our caps?” is a question heard many times over the years as graduates arrive for Ashford University commencement ceremonies. It’s a welcome surprise to those expecting commencement to be a very rigid, stuffy event. 

Sure, there are several speeches and it’s an organized affair, but that doesn’t mean students aren’t allowed to have a little fun. 

Over the years, thousands of graduates have celebrated their achievements with their families in San Diego at Ashford’s twice-a-year commencement weekends, which always includes a pre-graduation family celebration at the campus building.  

In addition to meeting fellow students and faculty, graduates get a chance to showcase their creativity and add some personal touches to their caps at the Cap Decorating Station. Here are some of the most popular themes and the best Ashford University graduate looks from years past.

1. You’re the Inspiration. 

So many Ashford students are adult learners who have spouses and children depending on them, and they use that as motivation while working their way through school. At commencement weekend, you’ll see students – such as 2015 grad Katie Jeanne -- adding names and photos of loved ones to their caps, as a reminder of why they went back to school.  

“Two kids, 23 years of dreaming, I did it!” reads 2017 graduate Valerie Moran’s cap in a photo she posted on Instagram

Alexis Zamora took a photograph of her sister’s cap and posted it to Instagram. The cap reads, “I did it for my family. Together we will rule the galaxy!”

2. See the degree. 

When you’ve worked so hard to earn your degree, often sacrificing all the spare minutes you have when you’re not working or with family, you want the world to know what you’ve just accomplished. 

Rakenya Wooden earned her Master of Arts in Education in 2015 and made sure those words were displayed prominently on her cap, alongside some popular classroom images – pencil, ruler, and an “A+” apple – to show off her future ambitions in the field. 

Likewise, Class of 2017 graduate @Rosie_Brit added her degree – a Master of Arts in Psychology – to her cap, and posted a photo to Instagram with the caption, “Cuz it’s not official until your cap is fully decorated.”

3. Words that inspire.

If you’re ever in need of motivation, you just need to look for an Ashford graduate. Many are fond of sharing their favorite motivational quotes or biblical quotes on their caps.

Melissa Kelly Gamez shared a proverb on her 2015 cap: “She is clothed with strength and dignity. She laughs without fear of the future.” 

Maria Omar Coronado showed she’s a fan of Dr. Seuss when she posted a pic of her cap on the Ashford University Facebook page. Her quote read: “You’re off to great places, today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.”

4. A message for the next generation. 

Every Ashford commencement ceremony is a reminder of what’s possible, and graduates never hesitate to share words of encouragement with the next generation of students. 

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it,” wrote Amanda Orozco on her commencement cap

“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” read the words Mirissa Pesapane added to her cap, with an accompanying Instagram caption in which she looked forward to earning her doctorate. 

Lastly, the Ashford University Instagram account shared a photo of a cap reading “Someday is today” during Spring 2017 commencement. The words serve as a reminder to current and future students that it’s never too late to finish school and there’s no reason – despite age or professional level – to postpone your dream.

Need some inspiration for your cap before your upcoming commencement ceremony? You’ll find decorating ideas – including materials and patterns – as well as additional quotes on the Ashford Pinterest page



Written by Ashford University staff.

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