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Father-daughter duo cross education finish line together

By ErinPradia
May 12, 2012 at 12:12 a.m.
Updated May 13, 2012 at 12:13 a.m.

Renee Ackley, right, points someone out in the crowd to her father, Eric, as they wait together to receive degrees from the University of Houston-Victoria at Saturday's graduation ceremony.

Renee Ackley, right, points someone out in the crowd to her father, Eric, as they wait together to receive degrees from the University of Houston-Victoria at Saturday's graduation ceremony.

Biology major Renee Ackley finished her graduation requirements in the fall, but the UHV grad waited to share a commencement ceremony with her dad, Eric Ackley.

"Since our names both start with A-C-K, I won't have to walk first," said Renee Ackley, 23.

The father-daughter duo spent countless evenings studying in the living room of their home, along with Renee Ackley's sister, Adrienne Ackley, 21, who was getting her associate's degree through Wharton County Junior College.

"All of us except my mom were in college," Ackley said. "For finals week, everyone was busy writing essays or something."

Even though they were both in the School of Arts and Sciences, their schedules never overlapped.

"She took history one semester and I did it the next," Eric Ackley said. "We took some of the same classes a semester apart, but never together."

Ackley worked a night shift at his job and said he appreciated the ability to take classes that worked well with his schedule.

His hard work paid off. Ackley graduated cum laude alongside his daughter, decorated with cords denoting her summa cum laude status and her membership in the Phi Zeta honor Society.

"I started out to get a certificate in computer information systems, but I decided to go for the degree instead," Ackley said. "It was a little difficult getting back into school and learning to study again after such a long time - but it was worth it."

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