Big Blue Family VIDEO: Daughter’s UK Experience Leads Family to “see blue.” Too

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2016) — UK senior Malia Dunn-Reier describes the first time she set foot on the University of Kentucky campus as “love at first sight.”

“I just kind of knew that it was where I wanted to be and so I made that decision to come six hours away,” said the Chicago-area native.

Her mother, Lori Dunn-Reier recognized it, too.

“Malia wanted the ultra-traditional college experience with all the school spirit and everything that went along with the strong academic programs,” her mother said. “She just knew and it was just like a some peace of mind (for me) because this was going to be a good fit for her.”

Lori and her husband, Michael encouraged Malia to get involved when she came to UK as a freshman in 2012.

“Just like we had supported her in high school we wanted to support her in her college experience even though we were six hours away,” Lori Dunn-Reier said.

That support meant many trips back and forth between their home near Chicago and Lexington. They also became involved in the UK Parent Assocation. As the Dunn-Reier family visited campus and watched Malia’s college career develop, the admiration for Lexington and UK grew. 

“I love everything about the town and the campus and her professors have been so accessible to her, everybody I've met has been so kind,” Lori Dunn-Reier said. “You hear that term Southern hospitality, well I've seen it played out and it is true and it is genuine.”

That love even extended to Lori’s husband, Michael, and the Big Blue Nation as the family started attending Kentucky Wildcat football and basketball games. 

“A couple of years ago Malia and her dad had a bet over basketball and he lost,” Lori Dunn-Reier said. “It was the year we were a little up and down with things, so he now has a UK tattoo, so it truly is part of us!”

But the UK tattoo was just the beginning. Watch the video above to discover why the Dunn-Reier family ended up moving to Lexington from the Chicago-area and how Malia and her mom, Lori, both ended up working in UK’s International Center as they help students discover the world through Education Abroad.

This video feature is part of a special series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community. There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields. The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday. 


Since the "Big Blue Family" series is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us.  Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue

VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,