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Member of the U.S. National Guard Named Ashford University's Outstanding Alum of the Week
Brian Habel completes 28-year journey to earn bachelor's degree

Completing a bachelor’s degree as a father of five while deployed overseas as an active duty member of the U.S. National Guard certainly wasn’t easy, but Brian Habel pulled it off with a flourish, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA at Ashford University. Habel, a Rock Island, Ill. resident, has just been named Ashford’s Outstanding Alum of the Week.

Habel credits the staff and technology behind Ashford’s online platform for empowering him to earn his degree. “While deployed, it was very easy to communicate and attend the classes,” said Habel. “Being online, you can feel like you’re a million miles away with a lot of different schools, but the customer service at Ashford has been outstanding.”

Habel, who has been an active duty member of the National Guard since 1986, is in charge of recruiting and retention for the Illinois Army National Guard, and has five children and stepchildren ranging from elementary school age to adult. “It keeps you busy,” he added.

Prior to enrolling at Ashford, Habel attended three different community colleges while going through his military training. Luckily, those credits didn’t go to waste. “Ashford made it very easy for me to attend online. They transferred everything in and gave me a good idea of what path to take from there.”

Earning a 4.0 GPA was a personal goal for Habel. “I wanted to show my kids that when you’re going to do something, jump in with both feet rather than halfway. Having a 4.0 meant I was making the most out of the opportunity that Ashford was presenting to me. I wanted to take everything out of the college experience that I could. That included joining multiple honor societies and graduating summa cum laude. So it’s being a role model for my soldiers, my family, and the community as a whole.”

The professional benefits of completing a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management degree have been tangible as well. “My team does a lot of projects within the community, so the degree gives me new ideas, fresh information, and more knowledge to pass on to them about how to make successful projects happen.”

Habel also feels his degree will benefit him in the future. “They’re telling me I’m going to have to retire one of these days, and I’m going have to find a ‘real job.’ I’m hoping the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained from Ashford are going to help me in my next career when I retire from the military.”

The Ashford University Outstanding Alum of the Week recognition was created to spotlight Ashford success stories and graduates who have used their Ashford education as a springboard to personal and professional achievement.


About Ashford University

Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. 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.