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Ashford University Welcomed Almost 1,200 Graduates to San Diego for October 4 Commencement Ceremony
More than 8,000 graduates and guests packed the Viejas Arena for Ashford graduation

The Viejas Arena in San Diego was filled with thunderous applause and “Pomp and Circumstance” on Sunday, October 4 as Ashford University celebrated its fall commencement. From across the country, 1,195 graduates assembled to pick up their diplomas. They were cheered on by more than 7,000 proud friends and family members who packed the arena to congratulate the graduates who chose to walk in Sunday’s ceremony.

In total, Ashford University’s fall 2015 class included 7,500 graduates who hailed from all 50 states, as well as foreign territories such as Germany and Guam. Graduates who could not make the trip to San Diego were able to enjoy the commencement online via a live feed.

The commencement weekend kicked off on Saturday, October 3, with a full day of family-friendly events at Ashford’s San Diego campus. Graduates and their guests were invited to tour the campus, attend meet-and-greets with Ashford faculty, participate in a military appreciation ceremony, and have their pictures taken with Ashford president Dr. Richard Pattenaude.

On Sunday, the commencement ceremony began with Tracy “Destini” Taylor singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Taylor, an Indiana resident who earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, was the winner of a nationwide online competition among Ashford University graduates to earn the honor of singing the national anthem.

The commencement’s keynote address was delivered by San Diego resident Damen Lopez, the founder of the No Excuses University Network of Schools. In his rousing speech, Lopez related his own journey in education, from his experiences as a first-generation college student to his work as a principal at an underperforming elementary school that was able to turn around under his leadership. He also urged the graduates to continue making bold choices with their lives – such as the decision each of them made to complete their college degree.

The ceremony also featured a speech from distinguished Ashford graduate Matthew Bambrick. A U.S. Army veteran, Bambrick earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Ashford in 2008. Since graduating, he has gone on to earn two master’s degrees, become a finalist for the 2012 Presidential Management Fellowship program, joined Ashford’s faculty as an online adjunct instructor, and was the first alumnus to be named to Ashford’s Faculty Senate Board as an associate faculty senator. He was named Ashford’s 2015 Outstanding Alum of the Month for September.


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 Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x11601.