Deployed Army officer, alumnus surprises daughter and family with commencement visit

Taylor Kirby was one of more than 600 students who was excited to walk across the stage to receive a degree during UNG’s fall commencement ceremonies in December, but she couldn’t have predicted tears flowing before her ceremony even began.

Kirby’s father, 1993 UNG alumnus Army Col. Norman “Chip” Kirby Jr., made a surprise visit to watch Taylor graduate, thanks to a short leave from active-duty military service in the Middle East. With assistance from UNG staff and his wife Jan, also a 1993 graduate, Kirby surprised Taylor and the rest of his family just before the ceremony. Taylor stepped into her father’s embrace and began crying tears of joy.

“I’m excited to graduate anyway,” Taylor Kirby said. “And then he gets to be here.”