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Paralympic Athlete and Motivational Speaker to Deliver Keynote Speech at Ashford University’s Spring Commencement
Students expected to travel to San Diego to receive their diplomas at commencement ceremony
Lex Gillette, keynote speaker for Ashford spring commencement on May 21

Ashford University has selected Elexis “Lex” Gillette to deliver the keynote address at its spring commencement ceremony. The ceremony is set for 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21 at Viejas Arena, 5500 Canyon Crest Dr. in San Diego, California.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Gillette began losing his eyesight at age eight, which eventually led to total blindness. Gillette refused to let this slow him down and continued to pursue his passion for sports, particularly the long jump.

At age 19, Gillette traveled to Athens, Greece to compete in his first Paralympic Games, where he received the silver medal and set a new U.S. record for the long jump category. To date, Gillette has taken home three Paralympic medals, is also a two-time long jump world champion, and 16-time national champion. He has surpassed the 22-foot barrier in the long jump, becoming the only blind athlete in the world to do so.

Aside from his Paralympic career, Gillette is also a motivational speaker and a singer/songwriter, often exploring topics such as leadership, motivation, and having a vision for life. 

Gillette earned a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in recreation management from East Carolina University.

Ashford students from across the nation are expected to attend the commencement ceremony in San Diego. The majority of Ashford’s student body attends class online, so graduation weekend will represent the first time that the majority of students will meet their fellow students and their instructors outside of the online environment.

To give the graduates an additional opportunity to interact face-to-face with their peers and teachers, Ashford will host a campus celebration at the university’s San Diego location, 8620 Spectrum Center Boulevard. At the event, graduates will be invited to tour the Ashford campus, attend meet-and-greets with university faculty, participate in a military appreciation event, and more.


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 Marianne Perez, Media Relations Manager, at 858.513.9240 x11636.