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Mother & Daughter Graduate from NKU

NKU professor Cheryl Swayne donned a cap and gown Saturday to receive a doctorate in education from the College of Education and Human Services during the morning session of commencement ceremonies at the Bank of Kentucky Center.

A few hours later, Swayne returned for the afternoon session and watched her daughter, Salena McKenzie, walk to the podium to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Swayne and McKenzie were among more than 1,400 students who graduated from NKU during the two commencement ceremonies on Saturday. Many of them were taught by Swayne, who is an associate professor in the Department of Advanced Nursing Studies.

“I’ve taught here since 1988 and I’ve always said, ‘Never stop learning,’ that’s why I decided to go back and get my doctorate here,” she said.

Swayne’s strong commitment to education was instilled in her children. McKenzie has two sisters and a stepbrother who also graduated from NKU within the last 12 months.

“I think that speaks a lot about our family in that we do work hard and know that it all pays off in the end,” McKenzie said. “I’m really proud of my family or all the things we’ve accomplished in the past year.”

McKenzie received a bachelor degree in applied photography with a minor in French. She
pointed her education in a totally different direction than her older sister, Kate, who has a nursing degree, and her twin sister, Samantha, who majored in biological sciences.

“I would have to say this is the best experience I’ve had and I’m glad that I came here,” McKenzie said of her academic career at NKU. “I’ve had professors that have gone above and beyond for their students, and I’m sure my sisters would feel the same way about their (academic) fields at NKU.”

McKenzie was recently hired by the Cincinnati Art Museum to work in its photographic services department. Swayne will be continuing her teaching career at NKU. With her new degree, she’ll be able to work with students in the Doctorate in Nursing Practice Program.

Since she’ll no longer be a student herself, Swayne will have more time to devote to volunteer work.

“NKU is very involved in civic engagement so I do a lot of volunteer work in the community because I’m a nurse practitioner,” she said. “Northern is very supportive of faculty getting involved like that. Even my three daughters have helped me volunteer by working with the underserved in the community, and that’s something I’m very proud of too.”

From NKU/Photo provided