Infographic: Ashford Graduates Through the Years

graphic of ashford students through the years

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The student body of Ashford University is made up of individuals from all walks of life. From grandmothers to single parents to active duty military, these collective groups of people are what make this University so special.

As Ashford University continues to grow, so does its rich history. What started from humble beginnings has turned into a high quality, innovative learning experience that meets the needs of a diverse student population around the world.

Ashford’s Forward Thinking blog takes a closer look at this student population and highlights the personal stories and accomplishments of four Ashford graduates through the years. Here are a few of the many students that we are proud to call alumni.

Sister Bertha Zeiser

Before Ashford University was a global classroom, it started out as a junior college for women called Mount St. Clare College. The Sisters of St. Francis founded the campus in 1918 in Clinton, Iowa.

Sister Bertha Zeiser attended and received an AA from Mount St. Clare College in 1931. After graduating, she attended other institutions to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and her licensure in teaching. Sister Bertha later returned to her alma mater where she taught for 33 years and served as principal for 14 years.

“I taught math most of the time – all levels: algebra, trigonometry, geometry,” Sister Bertha said. “It was one subject they seemed to like.”

Throughout her educational and spiritual journey, Sister Bertha always considered Mount St. Clare Academy and Ashford University home. She spent the majority of her 105 years serving and educating the community, and her selfless contributions truly made the world a better place. 

James R. Sanders

Making the decision to go back to college might unnerve some people, but not James Sanders. Not only did he return to college at the age of 40, but he also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice as an active member of the Marines.

“I earned my degree from Ashford University while I was on active duty and deployed,” he says. “It was challenging, but any time I had questions pertaining to my classwork or school activities, Ashford’s staff was there to assist me. They were great.”

The military community is a strong part of Ashford University’s student population and James is a testament to that. His determination to accomplish a goal is truly remarkable and he proves that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.   

“My experience helped me understand you can work hard and achieve your educational goals at the same time. If I can be on active duty in the military and attend school, that is a great accomplishment,” he says.

The graduates of Ashford University exemplify the morals, work ethic, and selflessness that make us proud to call them alumni. We look forward to following their journey as they continue to make a lasting impact on their communities.

Fassel & Sehar Rana

The idea of a married couple taking college courses together isn’t something you hear about very often. However, the online format at Ashford University gave Fassel and Sehar Rana that very opportunity. 

“We used both Constellation and the Ashford Mobile app to do our discussions,” Fassel said. “I would do it on my cell phone as well as my tablet. Sometimes at work, I would take a break and pull my phone out and look at discussions and see if I could answer a discussion or two. So it came in handy quite a few times.” 

Not only did Fassel and Sehar take their courses together, but they graduated together as well. In May of 2013, Sehar graduated with a Master of Arts in Organizational Management and Fassel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management.

“He had been struggling to complete his degree for the past eight years,” said Sehar of her husband. “He got married, we had kids. Finally being able to complete his degree was a huge break for him.” 

Tiffany K. Barthelmy

The opportunity to earn a Master’s degree while working a fulltime job is one of the many reasons why Tiffany chose to attend Ashford University. 

As a Project Manager at Autotrader, a division of the Cox Media Group, Tiffany was able to take advantage of Cox’s participation in the Leader Development Grant program. Through the program, Ashford partners with businesses to offer tuition assistance to eligible employees who want to advance their education. 

“My career at Autotrader afforded me the opportunity to manage and oversee projects, which stirred up a passion that I did not know existed,” she said. “I enjoy working with groups of people to attain a unified goal. Getting a degree in Organizational Management with a specialization in Project Management seemed most appropriate. I was able to address both the soft and hard skills associated with the discipline.”

Tiffany took advantage of her employer’s partnership with Ashford University and was able to earn a Master’s degree in 2016. 

All of the graduates of Ashford University exemplify the morals, work ethic, and selflessness that make us proud to call them alumni. We look forward to following their journey as they continue to make a lasting impact on their communities.

Written by Ben Cummings, Digital Marketing Specialist for Bridgepoint Education.


Libberton, L. (2013, August 1). Sister Bertha Zeiser. Ashford Connections AU Alumni Magazine, (7).

Oldest-living Clinton Franciscan, Zeiser, dies. (2016, June 15). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from

ashford graduates through the years infographic

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