10/25/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University Correctional Programs held its first ever graduation in Louisiana for the online Associate of Arts Degree Program at the Louisiana Transition Center for Women (LTCW) in Madison Parish.
LTCW was the first pilot site for the AU Correctional Programs in the state of Louisiana and it first offered courses to students starting with the spring semester of 2016. Under the leadership of the Ashland University Site Director Lynn Lewis, LTCW continues to be one of AU’s strongest sites.
Five graduates were recognized during the ceremony for their achievement of completing the requirements for the Associate of Arts in General Studies. “It was so important to one of the graduates that she arranged a ride and traveled back to LTCW, about a 3½ hour trip one way, in order to participate in the ceremony,” said David Webb, director of Correctional Programs at AU.
LTCW is operated by Lasalle Corrections and the center’s Managing Director Billy McConnell Sr. attended the ceremony and welcomed the graduates. He thanked Ashland University for providing the program and said he looks forward to the partnership between Ashland and Lasalle continuing to grow and improve over time.
The commencement address was delivered by Sen. Francis Thompson, Louisiana State Senator for District 34. Sen. Thompson is the second longest tenured senator in Louisiana. He gave an inspirational message to the graduates and praised the facility and Ashland University for the great work being done with those incarcerated at LTCW.
Webb, who represented Ashland University’s main campus at the event, congratulated the graduates on their achievements and challenged them to continue to work on their goals and to strive for success in everything they do.
“It was an emotional and inspirational ceremony that demonstrated why correctional education can have such a profound impact on these students,” Webb said.
Webb also noted some of the comments from the graduates, which he said shows the value of the program:
-- “Ashland University has been a God-send to me. It gave me a sense of purpose in order to move forward with my education so I can be a benefit to others. It helped me discover my creative side and my ability to multi-task. I am so thankful for the chance that I have been given; the chance to be able to accomplish something so rewarding during my incarceration.”
-- “Ashland University is extremely important to me because it is a major accomplishment in my life that makes my family proud of me. As a mother, it gives my daughters something to look up to and be proud of. Ashland University gives me a sense of accomplishment and a sense of self-worth; raising my self-esteem.”
Ashland University is participating in the Pell ESI demonstration grant offered through the U.S. Department of Education, and currently has approximately 1,000 students enrolled in the program in Ohio, Louisiana and West Virginia. This program is an integral part of the mission of the University and is a program that truly aligns with the goals of the University in regards to student development.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###