Aug 24, 2010

UVa President Sullivan Thinks You Might Be a Helicopter Parent If…


During remarks to parents and students assembled in Old Cabell Hall for the first of many events marking the start of a new academic year, newly installed University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan brought out a box of tissues. “These are for you,” she said.

As a parent and a newcomer to the university, Sullivan offered anecdotes from her own experience and empathized with the difficulty of saying goodbye for the first time. She also counseled parents to let their children grow and explore, yet be prepared for changes in thinking and attitudes when he or she comes home.

In addition, President Sullivan suggested signs that “you might be a helicopter parent” (with apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck” routine):
  1. “You might be a helicopter parent if you say to your child, ‘Don’t bother getting an alarm clock; I’ll call you every morning to wake you up.’

  2. “You might be a helicopter parent if you have the office phone numbers for all of your child’s professors, the Dean of Students, and me on speed-dial.

  3. “You might be a helicopter parent if you’re shopping for a new vacation home within 500 yards of the Rotunda.”

Responding to questions following her remarks, Sullivan revealed that her favorite part of UVa so far is the Lawn under a full moon. No, she has never “streaked” the Lawn and elaborating further she said, “nor do I intend to.”

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