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‘Nicky’ Crawford Takes Special ‘Walk’ during Commencement

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Author: Lois G. Russell

Release Date: May 13, 2017

Alumnus Clarenton “Nicky” Crawford fulfilled a lifelong dream during the 2017 Spring Commencement at Alabama State University.

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Clarenton “Nicky” Crawford is a man who dreams big and works hard to see those dreams fulfilled. His hard work paid off in 1974 when he completed his coursework at Alabama State University, making him eligible to walk with his classmates to receive his diploma.

But Crawford’s walk didn’t happen when it was supposed to more than 40 years ago. When Crawford was in school, he was also a part of the University’s first group of co-op students, meaning he alternated time between taking classes and working in a prestigious internship program.

Once his co-op was over, Crawford was offered and accepted a position with the U.S. Naval Department in Washington, D.C.  So, as many of his classmates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, Crawford was traveling to Washington for his first day of work.

“I thought about it several times over the years, but I just never took the time to reach out to the University to get my diploma,” said Crawford.

Crawford said last year, he decided to become more involved with his alma mater and gave a sizable donation to the school to help students who could not afford all of their college expenses. His reconnection to ASU prompted his desire to get his diploma, leading to his joining the 2017 graduates from the College of Business Administration in the walk across the Commencement platform.

“This is a very emotional day for me,” said Crawford. “I had to fight hard not to cry, especially when I thought about my mother, who was the one who worked so hard for me and my siblings to attend ASU. It’s just a very special day for me and my family.”

Many of Crawford’s family members were there to see him finally take his walk across the Commencement stage. They were also there to see two other family members who received their degrees.

nicky and studentsCrawford is a dedicated supporter of his alma mater, having established the Rosa Bell Crawford Scholarship in his mother’s honor last year.
In the past year, Crawford has increased his donations to the University. His most recent gift gained him a standing ovation during today’s Commencement when Interim President Leon C. Wilson announced that Crawford’s generosity allowed 34 students to graduate who would not have been able to do so because of outstanding balances.

“I was really happy to be able to do it,” said Crawford. “Again, it made me think of my mother and my family. It was just a blessing to know that I was able to help those students.”

Crawford is a native of Dothan, Ala., but he and his wife, Deborah, now live in Atlanta, where he has built a successful business.

 

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