Dr. Marian Swope Awarded Honorary Degree

Bellarmine University is pleased to recognize and honor Dr. Marian Swope ’69, a physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry, for her efforts to improve the lives of young people through her work and for her steadfast support of, and service to, her alma mater, Bellarmine University.

Dr. Swope was the first person in her family to attend college, and she credits Lexington Catholic High School for helping her to apply for the scholarship that allowed her to enroll at Ursuline College in 1965. Ursuline merged with Bellarmine in 1968, and she graduated from Bellarmine in 1969 with a degree in medical technology.

She then pursued a medical degree from the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky, where she completed a residency in general psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. Her current appointment is at the University Hospital’s Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, where, among her many responsibilities, she oversees the Child and Adolescent Residency Program. In addition to general practice, she also is an associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Of particular interest to Dr. Swope are issues that may affect the mental health of children and young people, including developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, mood disorders, and depression.

She also has a firm commitment to juvenile justice and to making sure that young people in facilities operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice receive appropriate mental-health care. In March 1999, Dr. Swope initiated a successful pilot project in telepsychiatry with Juvenile Justice, providing psychiatric services to youth in the Mayfield Youth Development Center through videoconferencing. She has subsequently made numerous presentations about telepsychiatry, an area of treatment that U.S. News & World Report just this year described as “the new frontier in mental health,” and continues to be the attending psychiatrist for the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Dr. Swope is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Kentucky Psychiatric Association, Medical Alumni Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a former member of the Catholic Social Services Board, and the parish council of St. Paul’s Church in the Diocese of Lexington.
Since July 1995, she has also been a member of Bellarmine’s Board of Trustees, serving on the Student Life and Academic Affairs committees. The decision to join the Board was an easy one, she said. “It’s an excellent school. I had great teachers there, and good memories.”

She has been impressed by all of the development that has occurred on Bellarmine’s campus in the past 20 years, including the new residence halls, the renovation of Knights Hall, and the Bellarmine Centro project. As a student of the sciences, she remembers going through the old labs on a campus tour for Trustees and seeing how they needed to be updated, which has also occurred. “Bellarmine has been completely remade since I’ve been on the Board,” she said. “Not that I can take credit!”

But mostly, she has been impressed by the caliber of the students who have visited with Trustees, including the 1999 mock trial team and the 2011 men’s basketball team – both of which won national championships. “The students who have talked to us are such poised, accomplished young people,” she said. “The Bellarmine product is superb.”

Among her many honors, Dr. Swope has been named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2015), the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residents’ Outstanding Supervisor Award (2015, 2008, 2007, 2006), the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residents’ Outstanding Faculty Award (2015, 2014, 2010), and the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award, UK College of Medicine (2007, 2004).

In 1994 she was inducted into Bellarmine’s Gallery of Distinguished Graduates.

At Bellarmine University, one of our core values is Cura Personalis, meaning “Care of the Person.” Cura Personalis demonstrates care for each person as an individual, and for each individual as a whole person. Throughout her career, Dr. Swope has lived this value, not only as a doctor providing essential treatment for patients at a vulnerable age, but also as a teacher of future physicians, and as an innovator who embraced technology to create new ways of connecting patients with mental-health services.

Bellarmine University is honored, therefore, to award on this, the 16th day of December in the year 2015, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Dr. Marian Swope.