See Past Your Current Reality: Lex Gillette

ashford university commencement speaker lex gillette

“A lot of people see things as they should be. What makes me different is that I have to see things the way I want them to be,” said Lex Gillette, Paralympian and commencement speaker for Ashford University.

Overcome Life’s Challenges

As thousands of graduates, families, and friends celebrated hard work coming to fruition at the May 2017 commencement ceremony, Lex Gillette inspired the crowd with his own story of triumph, and how he views the world just a bit differently. He described how, at the age of eight, he slowly lost his sight. “It was a gradual process where I would go to sleep, wake up the next day, and see a little less than I did the day before,” Lex recounted, “until one day I couldn’t see anything anymore.”

Lex knew that blindness presented a challenge -- and a chance to do something great. Like many of our graduates, Lex wanted to be a role model for others. As he entered high school and honed his track skills, Lex seized the opportunity to prove himself and his abilities in long jump. “I don’t see people’s disapproval and approval. If it’s something I believe that I can achieve, I go after it relentlessly,” said Lex. Soon Lex was paving his way toward a career in the Paralympics, and like many Ashford students, he found that earning his degree online offered flexibility to train and travel at the intensity he needed. “That’s how I’ve been able to compete, go to the games, to world championships. It wasn’t the sight that was the determining factor in whether or not I would be successful. It was having that vision to see past your current reality.”


Live Your Vision

Lex understood that believing in and working toward his goals every day mattered more than his physical sight. “I think having that vision gives you that drive, and it really helps you stay focused on that particular goal. It’s knowing that there will be tough times, but you’re locked in so much on your destination that you’re willing to go through hell and high water to get to where you want to go. It’s really provided that foundation for me so that I can go even higher.”

Thank you to Lex Gillette for inspiring the hearts and minds of Ashford University, and congratulations again to the graduating Class of 2017. Your hard work and accomplishments have inspired many.


Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.

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