Cathy and Bryan Purdie

Everything just seemed to fall into place.


Cathy and Bryan Purdie live in Alberta Lea, MN with their three children - two boys and a girl - and both earned their Bachelor’s degrees online at Ashford University. When we first spoke to them, they were still in the middle of their degree programs. Bryan explained, “Returning to school was a lifelong goal of mine, but until finding Ashford, I dismissed it as out of the realm of possibility. We live at least an hour’s drive from a traditional college, and between working full-time and raising three children, the time commitment was just too great.” 

While it may have been pushed aside, that goal did not disappear from view. Eventually, said Cathy, “We knew the time had come to develop our gifts so that we can make a positive difference in our lives, in the lives of our family, and in our community.” 

Because they needed to continue working full-time, Cathy and Bryan researched online programs, which led them to Ashford. “The woman we spoke with from Ashford answered all of our questions and took the time to describe how the online environment worked,” Cathy recalls. “Everything just seemed to fall into place.” 

Attending college and working full-time with three kids active in traveling sports, the Purdies had to learn to balance their time management, but it was well worth it, “This experience has helped me realize the unlimited potential I have, and confirmed that the knowledge I have gained can never be taken away,” said Bryan. “We have also become better role models to our children, who see us studying and forgoing many activities in pursuit of our degrees. The best part has been going through it hand-in-hand with my wife. We have been able to support and encourage each other, keeping each other on track and accountable.” 

To future Ashford students, Cathy advised, “Come to grips with why you want to go back to school and why it is important to finish. Ashford offers a wonderful opportunity, and the payoff is priceless! If I had known that I could work full-time, remain involved with my family, and volunteer in my community while going back to school, I would have done it years ago." 

When the Purdies graduated in 2011, Cathy said, "This education is going to give me a solid foundation of knowledge in the area that I know I was built to pursue, and I look forward to all of the opportunities it will bring. Thank you, Ashford!” 

In 2012, Bryan wrote to let us know that under Cathy’s direction as its Director of Marketing and Strategic Development, Trail’s Travel Center in Albert Lea, MN has been featured on several high-profile media outlets, including USA Today and Good Morning America! Cathy was also instrumental in creating programs that are now being expanded throughout the company. Bryan also enjoys a successful career as a Project Manager for Rink Systems, Inc., a company that builds ice rinks all over the world. 

“Our education not only makes us more successful at what we do in our daily jobs,” he noted, “but plays a huge role in our personal satisfaction as well. Jobs may come and go, economies may rise and fall, but our education shall be forever constant and cannot be taken away.”

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