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Scotia, New York Resident Wins Nationwide Competition to Sing National Anthem at Ashford University Commencement Ceremony on May 4

Thousands of Ashford University online graduates and guests from across the country will be at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 4. Only one will perform the national anthem.

Caledonia Gordon, earning a master's degree in education, is the winner of a nationwide Ashford University competition to open the graduation ceremony with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Students submitted audition videos, which were evaluated by the Ashford University Commencement Committee for clarity, musicality, melody, intervals, and ease in relating to the audience. Top selections were posted to the Ashford University Facebook page, where students, alumni, and guests voted for their favorite.

Gordon, 29, started singing at the age of 5. Her vocal abilities, coupled with a passion for performing, have made music a focal point in her life. She has been singing professionally for 13 years and performs in her church choir, at local coffee houses, community events, and in musical theater productions. A talented songwriter, she also plays guitar, alto saxophone, and piano. 

When Gordon heard about the competition to sing at the Ashford University commencement, she instantly decided to participate. “I’ve always said to myself, when I complete my degrees, I want to sing at my alma mater,” she said. “It’s a dream come true to sing at my graduation ceremony. I’ve achieved my educational goals and have the opportunity to complete my experience at Ashford in a special way.”

Gordon, an online student who has never been to the Ashford University brick-and-mortar campus, will be traveling to Clinton, Iowa with her family. Her mom, Devorah, and 7-year-old son, Josiah, will be in attendance for her performance and to celebrate when she receives her diploma. Graduation ceremonies are at 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill.

Graduating with honors, Gordon, who also received a bachelor’s degree from Ashford in 2012, looks forward to experiencing the traditional campus and meeting her online classmates and teachers face-to-face for the first time. “I want to embrace the entire experience,” she said.

Here is Caledonia Gordon’s award-winning national anthem audition video:


About Ashford University

Achievement belongs to all of us at Ashford University. By offering a traditional college campus as well as online degree programs, Ashford meets the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives and in their communities. Students may earn an associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degree online, while campus students in Clinton, Iowa may earn a bachelor’s degree. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.