Announcing the 2018 Ashford Student and Alum of the Year

ashford 2018 student and alum of the year

Honors student. Parent. Leader. Fighter. Survivor. Graduate. These are just some of the many words Ashford University students and alumni have used to define themselves in our ongoing series of success stories

Throughout 2018, a student and an alum story of the month were featured on Ashford’s social media channels. We narrowed our amazing list of monthly standout success stories down to three in each category, and Ashford University faculty and staff voted on their favorite. Now, in celebration of all the hard-working and inspirational Ashford students and alumni featured throughout the year, for the first time ever, we’re naming a “Student of the Year” and an “Alum of the Year.” 

We’re excited to introduce the winners of this inaugural honor. Read their stories below, and join us in congratulating your peers. 

Student of the Year: Odessa Thomas

Odessa ThomasA full-time working, single mother, Odessa Thomas knew pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration would take time, but she was determined to reach her goal. Boasting a 3.93 GPA and membership in Ashford’s Honors College, Odessa is proof that it’s never too late to earn a degree. Read how she has stayed in college with help from her personal philosophy and Ashford’s full tuition grant program.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Honors College experience was one of the best decisions I have made as a college student."
read Odessa Thomas ashford success story

Alum of the Year: Ty Smith 

ty smithNavy SEAL Ty Smith was the first male in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree, earning his BA in organizational management from Ashford in 2015. And he did it while fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. His dedication to country and degree paid off when he graduated from Ashford and later completed graduate work at the University of Southern California (USC), Marshall School of Business. Read how his journey impacted his career and prepared him for the business world.

"When I was in high school, not even once did any of my teachers or counselors ask whether I wanted to go to college one day. I knew the military was my way out of that life."
read ty smiths ashford success story

Do you have a success story you’d like to share with the Ashford Community? Head to our Facebook page and tell us your triumphant tale. Be sure to include #MyAshfordU for a chance to be featured on, and you could be a future student or alum of the year!


By Ashford University staff

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