Husband, wife to share special moment during NKU graduation

NKU interim president will award her husband with degree Sunday
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - On Sunday, thousands of students will graduate from Northern Kentucky University, but one of those students, will be given his degree from his wife.

Wesley Brown will get a degree in photography on Sunday from his wife, who happens to be the interim president at NKU, Bonita Brown.

His four-year degree as a non-traditional student is just part of this story of resiliency and determination.

“I say he’s like the uncle of the students,” jokes Bonita.

Bonita jokes about her husband Wesley, who is a student at NKU. Wesley majored in photography with a minor in entrepreneurial studies.

“I took it [photography] more seriously after my first wife passed,” says Wesley, “And that was just a way to kind of deal with the grief. I dealt with my grief through telling other people’s stories.”

Wesley says the two projects he’s most proud of while at NKU were working with a funeral home during the pandemic and telling the stories about truck drivers through photos.

In both of those fields, Wesley has professional experience from his past.

“It was a way for me to utilize my pain through different things in life,” continues Wesley.

When Wesley enrolled in the fall of 2019, he did not know his own wife would award him his degree.

“I had no clue I was going to be invited to be the interim president,” explains Bonita. “I think even as the board was talking about that, not much after I said yes did I think about the fact that he was graduating. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, my name is going to be on his degree, I actually get to hand it to him.’ You couldn’t have scripted this any better.”

Bonita says she helped her husband as much as she could while he was taking classes.

He excelled in the photography courses, but some of his general studies created obstacles.

“The writing and the math he struggled with the most,” explains Bonita. “I couldn’t help with the math, so I was able to connect him with some tutors here on campus.”

She says not only is it never too late to get a degree, but for anyone that has tough times, Wesley is an example of resiliency.

“He had many obstacles, as you mentioned,” said Bonita. “There were some days he was frustrated, and I had to talk him through and say, ‘Ok, you can do this.’ Resiliency, he was determined to get it. He was not going to give up.”

The entire family will be in town Sunday to see this couple on their big day.

Graduation is Sunday at NKU beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Wesley says he is going to continue working with his business which is called Captured Camera Creations, LLC.

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