By: Jillian Wilson
She was named the greatest female athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.
Today, Olympic Gold Medalist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee told more than one thousand graduates and their loved ones about how she got there.
"This is your day, your day of celebration," said Joyner-Kersee.
Jackie Joyner Kersee spoke at I–wireless about the power of perseverance and how she turned her challenges into motivation.
Folks at graduation say they were moved.
"Tremendous, almost felt like I was in church that's how good it was," said Kent Daniel turner, a father of an Ashford graduate.
She told Ashford graduates to surround themselves with positive people who will push them forward rather than hold them back.
"You got that one person, oh today you didn't pass that, or no you don't need to do that, I don't even know why you're trying to get that education, oh I didn't know why you are wasting your time, why do you want to do that... all that negativity, so now, you show them that diploma, hey, I got it!" said Joycee-Kersee.
Jackie is from southern Illinois and she says it's an honor to be speaking in Moline.
"In a sense it's like coming home because there is always a connection no matter where your journey takes you and for me to be from the state of Illinois and then to come to Moline and then to be able to talk to the graduates," said Joycee-Kersee.
Ashford University offers online courses, so folks from all over the country came to support their graduate and to hear Jackie's message.