Editor's Note: This story has been updated. It originally said that Ashely Ford was a master's student, and that was corrected to say she is finishing her bachelor's degree.
Graduating student, writer and host Ashley C. Ford will be Ball State’s 2018 Fall Commencement speaker at 10 a.m. Dec. 15, 2018, in Worthen Arena.
This will be Ford’s second time speaking on campus, as her first talk was “Making Connections Meaningful” in November 2017.
"I had talked to a professor and friend who works with President Mearns about wanting to come back and finish my degree, and in the process of those conversations I met President Mearns and later found out that they were considering me to be the fall commencement speaker," Ford said, in a phone call with The Daily News. "Eventually, President Mearns reached out to me and officially asked if I would be interested, and I was."
Ford originally started her college career at Ball State in the fall of 2005. In 2011, Ford thought she had completed her bachelor's degree but ended up still needing to take History 150.
When she initially found out about her one remaining class, Ford could not afford to return until this fall, so she is now finishing the class online.
"I know that I left college and was able to be pretty successful without that piece of paper, but what I've found is that not having that piece of paper really made me question my ability to follow through," Ford said. "Not having confidence in your ability to follow through is one of the biggest hindrances to being successful in any capacity.
"I missed up a lot. I think people act like they left college and made all the right decisions and became successful, but that's not what happened to me. I've done a lot of learning about what it means to have your word be your bond."
Alongside taking her final course, Ford is currently working on her memoir, “Somebody’s Daughter,” which will be published under the imprint An Oprah Book by Flatiron Books.
She also hosts the daily Brooklyn-based news and culture television show 112BK.
"It's been tough [balancing my class with my life]...," Ford said. "It was a lot, but it has also been so fulfilling. With every assignment completed, it just feels like I'm getting closer and closer to being the person I've always wanted to be."
Over the course of her career, Ford has written or guest-edited for The Guardian, ELLE, Slate, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Lenny Letter and INTO.
Last year, her writing was listed among Longform and Longreads Best of 2017.
She has also been named among Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30, Time Out New York’s New Yorkers of the Year and Brooklyn Magazine’s Brooklyn 100.
"If you are not dead, then you have the ability to do one more thing," Ford said. "If you have the ability to do one more thing, then you have the ability to change everything about your circumstances.
"I'm not saying it's easy — I don't think its's been easy — but it's just worth it. And I think that's one of the things that we, just as people, need to focus on more."
Brynn Mechem contributed to this article.