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Ashford University Celebrates May 21 Commencement Ceremony with More Than 1,100 Graduates in Attendance
Graduates and guests packed the Viejas Arena for Ashford graduation

“Pomp and Circumstance” filled the Viejas Arena in San Diego on Sunday, May 21 as Ashford University celebrated its spring commencement. From across the country, 1,135 graduates assembled to pick up their diplomas. As each graced the stage to accept their diplomas, more than 5,300 friends and family members packed the arena to cheer on the graduates who participated in Sunday’s ceremony.

Ashford’s spring 2017 class includes 8,837 graduates coming from all 50 states, as well as foreign territories to include Germany, U.S. Virgin Islands, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and the Republic of Korea. Graduates who were unable to partake in the San Diego commencement festivities and ceremony were able to enjoy the commencement online via live stream.

Commencement weekend kicked off on Saturday, May 20, with a full day of family-friendly events at Ashford’s San Diego headquarters. Graduates and their guests were invited to partake in a tour of Ashford’s headquarters, attend meet-and-greets with Ashford faculty, participate in a military appreciation ceremony, and have their pictures taken with keynote speaker and Paralympic athlete Elexis “Lex” Gillette and Ashford President Dr. Craig Swenson.

On Sunday, the commencement ceremony began with Crystal Radcliff singing her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Radcliff, a Shreveport, La. resident who earned a bachelor of arts degree in health education from Ashford, was the winner of a nationwide online competition among Ashford graduates to earn the honor of singing the national anthem.

The commencement’s keynote address was delivered by Gillette. A Chula Vista, Calif. resident, Gillette shared with the graduating class three life experiences he had growing up blind and the lessons he learned from each instance. Gillette also shared with the graduates his motto, “You don’t need sight to have a vision.” 

The ceremony also featured a speech from distinguished Ashford graduate Yenette Perryman. A California native, Perryman is the founder and chief executive director of Real People Consulting, LLC, a human resource and change management consulting firm. She earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Ashford in 2015. Since graduating, Perryman has earned her master’s degree in human resource management from Walden University and currently resides in San Francisco, Calif.


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.