Ashley Sprouse ’18 Joins Family Legacy of Seahawk Pride

Monday, December 17, 2018

For Ashley Sprouse ’18, becoming an alumna of UNCW was a rite of passage. Sprouse was among the more than 2,290 students who graduated during the fall 2018 commencement ceremonies on Dec. 15 in Trask Coliseum. She received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and graduated magna cum laude — and joined her mother and three siblings as members of the Seahawk family.

“Everyone in my family has been proud to attend UNCW, so being the fifth member of my family to attend seemed almost inevitable in a way,” Sprouse said.

Sprouse’s siblings who received degrees before her are: Brian Flynn ’04, ’09M, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in liberal studies; Erin Hill ’06, who earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology; and Courtney Beckman ’15, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

“They have all met and exceeded my expectations and hopes, and UNCW has been a vital step in the process,” said Shari Richardson ’05, Ashley’s mother. Richardson earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education through the extension program at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville in 2005.

“As a working mother, a college education was a tremendous challenge. If not for the extension program in Jacksonville, I would not have been able to do it,” said Richardson. “I will always be grateful for that opportunity, and consider it one of the first steps in finding my career path and success. I came from a family where two parents and two siblings did not complete high school. I was determined that things would be different for me. I wanted to show my children that a college education is valuable and possible, no matter what circumstances you have behind you.”

Ashley’s experiences at UNCW helped her come out of her shell, she said.

“It’s hard to stay withdrawn when everyone around you is so genuinely friendly,” she continued. “I’ve met so many kind, interesting and hilarious people during my time here, and I’m hoping for the best for all of them.”

Richardson summed up her thoughts about what makes UNCW special in one word: “opportunity.”

“From the program offerings and support systems to the integrity and value of a UNCW education, my family was provided the opportunity to reach for educational success,” she explained. “We embraced that opportunity and it put us on the path to achieving our goals.”

-- Venita Jenkins


 Left to right: Brian Flynn, Courtney Beckman, Ashley Sprouse, Shari Richardson and Erin Hill

Left to right: Brian Flynn ’04, ’09M; Courtney Beckman '15, Ashley Sprouse '18; Shari Richardson '05 and Erin Hill '06.