James Grady

I was in Kabul, Afghanistan while completing my degree.


While James Grady was an active duty First Sergeant, he was also attending Ashford University. He described his experience to his mother, Jackie McKennie, which inspired her to enroll as well.

James is a proud graduate, having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management degree from Ashford at age 39. After graduation, he received a promotion to the highest enlisted rank he can hold as Logistics Sergeant Major of the Georgia Army National Guard.

For this achievement, James was interviewed by Black Enterprise Magazine. He told them, “I wouldn’t have received the promotion without my degree…the points I received for my degree, along with points for military education, made the difference between first and second place for the position of sergeant major.”

One of the difficult challenges James faced while pursuing his degrees was staying focused on schoolwork while maintaining his role in the military. “I was in Kabul, Afghanistan while completing my degree. Once I was doing my homework and a suicide bomber killed himself with a 200-pound bomb less than 100 yards away from me. It is hard to think about a paper when you’ve come that close to being hurt, but I made it through.”

James offers advice to anyone considering enrolling at Ashford. “A degree worth having will require some dedication, but if you are looking for a great learning experience that caters to the student, Ashford is where you want to be. They will give you the tools for you to do your best.”

James and his mother celebrated their graduation day together in April 2011 at the ceremony held in Clinton, IA.

Link to Jackie McKennie's story

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