Father-daughter duo graduate college together

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 17:59:56-04

IDAHO — “Why did I want to go back? I asked myself that many times, yeah this is old dogs new tricks,” said the University of Idaho graduate, Chris Smith.

For 40 years Chris felt like he had unfinished business after he left college for a job offer on the radio. But, once his daughter, Mackinnon Smith, enrolled at the U of I four years ago Chris knew he wanted to go back.

"I thought I should try and get this done hahaha," he said.

So, Chris started college online in Boise and Mackinnon started on campus in Moscow. But going to college with your dad?

"It's fun being in college with your dad," said Mackinnon. "I don't mind it at all. I think it's a blast, and funny as well."

Even though they enrolled at the same time it was never a thought they would be graduating together until their last year.

“We started talking about like, 'Hey if I take this many credits and you do that we might both get to graduate, and I kind of thought, do you really wanna graduate with your old man?'” said Chris.

He may call himself an old dog, but once the pandemic hit and schools went completely virtual he helped both of his daughters transition.

“They really had to adjust to online classes and zoom classes, but I have been going to college online," he said. "So, I was like quit complaining I have been doing this for four years so you’ll get used to it.”

Although college together gave them more to talk about and discuss, "I could never get her to do my homework, just like I won’t do her homework haha,” said Chris.

They planned to walk together at graduation Aug.1, but instead, they will enjoy their virtual ceremony together in their backyard.

"It was kind of a fun goal to set, like why not it's double the celebration in my eyes," said Mackinnon.

She is graduating with an applied mathematical biology degree and is already currently working in the public health field helping to fight COVID-19.

“This pandemic hit and I kind of figured I could make a difference with what I know and what I learned in school,” said Mackinnon.

Chris is graduating with a degree in journalism, and if he has any advice after 40 years it would be to get college done.

"Finish college, and don’t try to go back, but if you can go back do it," he said. "It’s going to be harder the second time, but it’s always worth it and I’m proud. She got done in four years, I got done in 40, so there’s room for improvement there, but at least we got done!”