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St. Louis, Missouri Resident Wins Nationwide Competition to Sing National Anthem at Ashford University Commencement Ceremony on May 3

More than 1,000 Ashford University on-campus and online graduates and guests from across the country will be at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 3. Only one will perform the national anthem.

Monica Brady, earning an associate’s degree in business, 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.

Brady, 45, has always been passionate about singing. When her best friend and fellow Ashford student heard about the competition to sing at the Ashford University commencement, she instantly urged Brady to participate. “This is a journey we chose to take together as best friends and I decided to accept the challenge,” Brady said.

While completing her online degree, Brady worked full time and cared for her three sons. “Sometimes the road was a little rough for me, but when you hit those bumps and snags, use them to your advantage. Keep striving forward,” she said.

Brady, who enrolled at Ashford in 2012, will be traveling to Clinton, Iowa from Missouri to attend the commencement ceremony and perform in front of fellow students, friends and family. She looks forward to experiencing the traditional campus and meeting her online classmates and teachers face-to-face for the first time. The graduation ceremony is at 9:30 a.m. at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill.

Here is Monica Brady’s award-winning national anthem audition video:


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.