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Jeff Hobbs has spent much of his life defying the odds and disproving doubters. Born premature and stricken with spastic cerebral palsy, Hobbs was continually told he couldn’t compete in youth sports. Although his condition restricted mobility, Hobbs became a star runner in high school and later ran for Ashford University’s cross-country and track teams. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts in 2004 and never stopped running. Because of his determination, Hobbs has been named Ashford’s Outstanding Alum of the Month.
Hobbs’ story became an inspiration to people facing obstacles and he was featured in the Comcast Sportsnet documentary, “Guts: The Jeff Hobbs Story” and in the PBS special, “Jeff Hobbs: Heart of a Champion.” Today, Hobbs travels the country as a motivational speaker and he was recently selected to deliver the commencement address at Ashford’s graduation ceremony.
“Honestly, I’ve spoken to a lot of different audiences, and I hold this one in high regard,” Hobbs said upon hearing of his selection. “To be able to come back and hopefully inspire people and talk about how Ashford has affected my life is unbelievable.”
Hobbs’ journey to Ashford began as he searched for a school that would satisfy his educational and athletic desires. Being from a small community, he wanted a campus with a “hometown feel to it” and found what he was looking for at Ashford’s Clinton campus.
“I learned so much about myself. Just being on my own taught me to be independent,” he said. “Ashford is something that I cherish very highly, and I made the right decision getting my degree [at Ashford].”
Although he graduated more than a decade ago and despite his demanding schedule, Hobbs still keeps in touch with former classmates and professors. Those bonds, he said, are something today’s students should hold onto no matter where they go in life. “You can get a degree in a lot of places, but the friendships will last forever and the professors genuinely care,” he said. “I still feel, 10 years later, that Ashford cares.”
When asked what future generations of Ashford students can learn from his experiences, Hobbs urged them to set their own standards. “Regardless of who you are, you’re going to go through challenges. It’s the people that fight the good fight who end up being who they want to be, and never settling for anything less than that.”
The Ashford University Outstanding Alum of the Month 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 www.ashford.edu, www.facebook.com/ashforduniversity, www.twitter.com/AshfordU, or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.