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From: Bonita J. Brown, J.D.
Interim President, Northern Kentucky University
Date: 05/01/2023
Subject:  Good news from April 2023 and academic year wrap-up


We are only a few days away from our May 2023 Commencement ceremonies! I am looking forward to presiding over my first graduation as interim president, and I cannot wait to celebrate all of our deserving graduates. My husband, Wesley, will be among the more than 1,900 learners completing years of hard work and reaching their academic goals, so it will be extra special for me as I will be full of pride as both a family member of a graduate and as president.

It will also be an exciting day for Dr. Burke Miller of our Department of History and Geography because his twin daughters, Hannah and Emily, will graduate during the morning ceremony on Sunday, May 7. Student Government Association president and student regent Daniel Myers will graduate from the Haile College of Business and Leslie Schultz, a staff member in the Office of Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving, will graduate and become an alumna herself.

And our University Police chief, John Gaffin, will also be among the graduates in this Class of 2023 receiving his Juris Doctorate degree on Friday, May 5, when the NKU Chase College of Law honors 130 new grads. John is the valedictorian of the part-time division!

I know there are more NKU staff who are receiving degrees during this commencement season. In fact, nearly 900 NKU faculty and staff members are proud alumni of this great institution.

Over the past few weeks leading up to Commencement, I had the pleasure to attend many end-of-year and awards celebrations. It was a privilege to learn so much about the amazing work of our faculty, staff and students have done this academic year. Congratulations to all those who won awards over the past month.

Commencement is one of the biggest and most inspiring days at NKU, and it reminds us all why we are here — student success. Thank you to everyone who is working hard to make Commencement a special day for all of us and especially for the newest NKU alumni … and congratulations again to each of our graduates this semester.

There is just so much to be excited for here. Other key highlights from April:

  • We have some very exciting news about our annual diversity report that is required by CPE.NKU received the highest score in our history, and the highest score in the state this year, scoring 31 points out of a possible 36. This achievement shows our campus’ continued commitment to diversity efforts that are central to the work that we do.

I am grateful to Dr. Darryl Peal and his team of faculty and staff who dedicated so many hours to collecting data and compiling this important report. Our community is ambitious in its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, embedding those values into all the work we do here. I am extremely proud of our campus and how we stand each day as a champion for DEI.

  • Dr. Dan McGee received the 2023 Award for Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics at the 2023 spring meeting of the Kentucky section of the Mathematics Association of America! Dr. McGee is the latest in an outstanding group of faculty members the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is fortunate to have. In fact, an NKU professor has won four of the past six of these awards. Congratulations, Dr. McGee.
  • Congratulations are also in order for newly elected SGA president and student regent, Isaiah Phillips, along with vice president, Lucy Burns

    Isaiah is from Covington and is double majoring in psychology and sociology. Lucy is from Louisville and is double majoring in environmental science and integrative studies. I am looking forward to working with them over the next year.
  • Because of the hard work of Dr. Rebecca Elkins and Dr. Rhyanne McDade, NKU students and community members now have access to an innovative new website called Mental Health Warriors, which provides a wealth of information and coping tools to those who continue to suffer from psychological distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This is just the latest accomplishment for our community from the Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) and it was made possible thanks to a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM).
  • A new partnership with Fidelity Investments will provide resources, hands-on experience and training from industry professionals for students who plan on pursuing a career in financial services through a course offered in the Haile College of Business and taught by a Fidelity professional. Students will use materials from Fidelity to prepare for and take the SIE exam, the first test required to get licensed to work in the industry. The increased exposure to industry-level content and exam preparation will kickstart students’ careers before graduation.

Finally, the 2023 edition of NKU Magazine is out, and it is full of great stories from our community throughout the past year. Here are just a few of the fantastic stories you can read:

More stories like these are available throughout the year from NKU Magazine, the Norse Up Podcast and at the NKU Media Center.

Whether you will be on campus during the summer months or away, I hope you all have a restful and peaceful summer with plenty of time to share with loved ones and doing the things you are passionate about. Thank you for all you do for our university, our learners and the community.




Bonita J. Brown, J.D.
Interim President