Ashford was the first school that really let me set my own schedule. They got to know me and helped me with classes


“Going to school and balancing military service has been one of the hardest experiences of my life,” admits Ashford student and U.S. Marine Lewis Dempsey. “Being a husband and father working long hours, this is a major accomplishment for me.”

While his numerous responsibilities as a family man and active-duty service member can make it challenging for Lewis to find the time for school, those same responsibilities were important factors in Lewis’s journey to Ashford in the first place. Lewis’s family provided the inspiration for him to take the plunge into higher education, and his military service opened up an accessible route to Ashford.

“No one else in my family has earned their college degree, so I’m setting the standard for generations to come,” Lewis explains. “I am happy about my degree, but I’m happier for my kids and for what they’ll accomplish because they had a dad with a degree.”

In fact, it shouldn’t be long before another member of Lewis’s family earns a college degree, too. His wife, Yolanda, is also nearing the end of her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration program at Ashford. They are both scheduled to complete their degrees in 2017.

For Lewis, the decision to pursue his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management degree at Ashford started with a desire to plan for life after the military. He asked the Education Services Officer on base to recommend a school and was told that Ashford was a good fit for military students.  

Ashford’s online format provides some of the flexibility that many military students need to fit college into an unpredictable schedule. Ashford offers benefits and support specifically designed for military students, including: Help with transfer credits for military service, dedicated Military Services Advisors, military student organizations, the Ashford Military Grant to help pay for school, and more.

“Ashford was the first school that really let me set my own schedule. They got to know me and helped me with classes,” Lewis says. “Being able to get my degree at a good pace – three credits every five weeks – was great. I can’t believe I’m almost done.”

Not only has Lewis learned a great deal in his classes at Ashford, he has also grown as a person. “I became more mature because I had to focus more on my work and disciplining myself,” he says. “I want more out of life. I want to own my own business one day. I feel like I’m ready to step out on my own.”

Calling his time at Ashford a “really good experience,” Lewis encourages other busy adults who are looking for more out of life to check out the school that will soon be his alma mater.

“If you work hard at school, you can do it,” Lewis says. “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. It changed my life.”

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