Sarah “Sally” Helen Higdon Swain grew up in Copperhill, Tennessee (Polk County in the southeast corner of the state), also known as the Copper Basin area. She is the daughter of Walter Quillan Higdon and Rachel Moore McKey Higdon. Sally's Higdon lineage is: Father, Walter Q. Higdon, eldest child of William Thomas Higdon and Mary Elmyra Arp of Higdon, Georgia.
Sally graduated from the University of Chattanooga with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. During her undergraduate years at UC, she also studied piano with Harold Cadek, Dean of the Cadek Conservatory of Music. A graduate fellowship allowed her to complete a master's degree at Vanderbilt University. Following graduation she worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a research assistant in cytogenetics before joining the Department of Biology faculty at Middle Tennessee State University where she currently serves as Associate Professor of Biology. She married Herman Doyle Swain, a former Copper Basin High School classmate. Her career at MTSU was interrupted for about six years, a period during which she had three children and taught part-time at Cumberland College, Lebanon, Tennessee, with husband Boone Swain, also a biologist. Since returning to MTSU, she has been continuously employed there as a faculty member in the Department of Biology.
Sally and husband Boone reside near Lebanon, Tennessee, where Boone is a partner in a local building supply business. Their grown children live nearby with their spouses in the Middle Tennessee area. Sally and Boone enjoy gardening, fishing, reading, spectator sports, and being grandparents for the first time! Granddaughter Rachel Carpenter Moscardelli was born in October 2005 to parents Katherine Ross Swain Moscardelli and Michael Moscardelli of Nashville. Rachel is named for her maternal great-grandmother, Rachel McKey Higdon, well-known by many Higdon Family Association members. Also nearby in Nashville are daughter Laura Lynn Swain Guin and husband Aaron Guin. Son Clinton Moore Swain and his wife, Whitney Ryan Smith Swain, live in Lebanon.
Sally looks forward to retiring in the near future from full-time teaching. Retirement plans include travel, time with her growing family, community activities, and part-time teaching.
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