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Powder Springs, Georgia, Pastor Wins Nationwide Competition to Sing National Anthem at University Commencement Ceremony on October 8

SAN DIEGO (October 5, 2017) – Thousands of Ashford University online graduates and guests from across the country will be at the university’s commencement ceremony on October 8. Only one will perform the national anthem.

Dr. Tracy Nichols, earning a master’s in psychology and graduating with honors, won the nationwide Ashford University competition to open the graduation ceremony with his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Nichols, who has sung the anthem previously at football and basketball games in his home county, says his favorite part of attending Ashford is the flexibility to work online and the “wonderful” professors.

“I’d like to give special thanks to my advisor, Jason Kucor, who was there for me no matter what,” says Nichols.


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.

Nichols, an online student, is among 1,290 students traveling to San Diego, Calif., to attend the Ashford Commencement ceremony. The graduation ceremony will be at 10 a.m. at Viejas Arena.

For more information on Ashford’s fall 2017 commencement, visit


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 degree programs online, allowing students to balance life by providing the flexibility to do school work anywhere, anytime. For more information, please visit,,, or call Lauren Coartney at 858.513.9240 x11636.