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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.

Outstanding students, spring 2012

School of Arts and Sciences:

Thelissa Arbre Edwards, graduate

La Shaundrea Kay Annette Harris, undergraduate

School of Business Administration

Nazim Nazar Ali, graduate

Jessica Estrada, undergraduate

School of Education and Human Development

Lisa Marie Hand, graduate

Christopher Michael Henk, undergraduate

School of Nursing

Blanche DeLeon, graduate

Maura Geralynn Bennett, undergraduate

Commencement for the Nursing and Business schools was at 1 p.m.


"Tons and tons of patience," Jim Wadsworth, 32, biology major.

"Just to keep going and don't give up," Carole Williams, 42, psychology major.

"Time management," Samantha Salas, 19, criminal justice major.

"How to stay committed I guess," Sebastian Guzman, 25, criminal justice major.

"Commitment to stay on top of it," Chi Gibson, 35, communications major.

"Time management," Veronika Ryza, 27, English major.

"Oh boy. The greatest lesson learned - perseverance it doesn't matter if you go to college right after high school or if you wait. I think it feels just as good as it would have if I was 22," Maria Jimenez, 31, history and secondary education major.

"That's a good question. The greatest lesson - perseverance I'd say," Adam Banda, 22, criminal justice major.

"Just how to be more understanding," Chris Henk, 38, education major.

"Diligence and commitment. Go through with it and don't stop when you feel like you're bogged down," Ian Mitchell, 28, education major.

"Endure to the end and it's worth it," Christy Lezeth McBride, 28, education major.

uhv grad stats

Number of graduates: 385

Speaker: Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, professor of English at University of Austin

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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