Dr. Gay Sweely grew up in Chicago, Illinois; was honored as Miss Junior Chicago Citizen; attended the Junior School of the Art Institute of Chicago; received numerous city, national, and international science fair awards and scholarships; and was educated at Illinois Wesleyan University, the University of Utah, the University of Canterbury (NZ), and the University of Melbourne (AUST) in art history and architectural history. Her research centers on American native, New Zealand, and Australian art and architecture. She received the Art Educator of the Year award for Higher Education from the Kentucky Art Education Association: 2005-06. At Eastern Kentucky University, she is a professor of art history, principally Non-Western art history; is the former president of Chapter 122 of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi; serves as a faculty technical editor; and has taught, published articles, and presented papers in New Zealand, Australia, and across the United States. She and her husband are currently renovating a 1790 Federal-era stone house and an American Revolutionary War Land-Grant property, have two sons, and own sheep and a llama.