For Capital University police Chief Frank Fernandez, the university's May 5 commencement was unlike any other day he's spent overseeing campus safety.
The day marked a family milestone: he and his daughter, Frankie, graduated with bachelor's degrees.
Frank Fernandez began taking classes around 2009 and completed the requirements for his degree in criminology and sociology this year. His daughter completed her degree in criminology and psychology last fall.
But because Capital has only one commencement ceremony, held in the spring, father and daughter walked the stage in their caps and gowns right behind each other.
"It turned out to be perfect," Frank Fernandez said.
Fernandez began his career at the Pataskala Police Department, where he served from 1994 to 2004. He joined Capital's force as a sergeant in 2004 and was promoted to chief in 2013. He said Frankie plans to follow in his footsteps and go into law enforcement, with a goal of joining the FBI.
"She took after me, I guess," he said.
Interacting with Capital's staff and students and helping to keep them safe is the most rewarding part of his job, he said.
"Capital students have respect for what we do, and the institution," he said.
But staying vigilant about potential hazards can be daunting, Fernandez said.
"Law enforcement is always going to be a challenge. Overall, with Capital and the Bexley community, respect is still there for authority," he said. "That makes our challenges a little easier."
Fernandez said he and campus safety officers often share information and work closely with the Bexley Police Department.
"We rely a lot on Bexley," he said. "Our relationship is very close and we trust each other in what we do. We communicate and they let us know when they have an issue."
Fernandez and his wife, Silvia, have two other adult children who are also Capital alumni: Reuben, a 2010 communications graduate, and Alisa, a 2015 sports science graduate.
"We're a big Capital family," he said.
University President Elizabeth Paul emphasized the importance of community in her remarks during the commencement, which was the 168th for the university.
"Individually and collectively, we can do so much more good and live much more fully when we include the full diversity of humanity, embracing difference, not judging and excluding those we cast as 'other,'" she said. "For nearly two centuries, Capital University has believed in the power of authenticity and community. We are each in this world for a reason. We are bonded together by our humanity."
Keynote speaker Angela Pace, director of community affairs at WBNS-10TV and a 1977 Capital alumna, spoke about her experiences as a college student.
She said that while technology has evolved in the years since she graduated, Capital's mission of helping students to hone their talents and contribute to the world has remained the same.
"Capital has already prepared you to be the very best that you can be. Embrace and appreciate that," she said. "Loving yourself, feeling good about yourself, that makes it easier to find your purpose."
More than 600 graduates were expected to participate in the ceremony, held in the field house on Capital's Bexley campus.