Tis a great day to be a Hawkeye Parent! I trust that your student is healthy and well adjusted to the rigors of studying, exploring, and socializing on this great campushopefully, in that order.
A decade ago, then-University President Hunter Rawlings III made a bold statement at a parents function. "Many of our students dont just graduate from Iowa, they become Iowa."
After I caught my breath and managed to wipe the sarcastic smile off my face, I began to regroup my thoughts. Of course he would say that. He should! As president of a prestigious university he was heavily biased. To say anything less would be unacceptable. Promoting was merely a facet of his job. But was he genuinely sincere or overstating his case?
Like your family, my familys dynamics are in a constant state of overdrive. My three distinguished Hawkeye alumnae (now who has the sarcastic smile?) have held positions in five different states, as of press time. Whenever they have to establish a new locale, invariably a contact surfaces with ties to Iowa City. Pleasantries are exchanged, semi-true stories are shared, and suddenly a friendship is created. Most major metropolitan areas have an alumni club filled with enthusiastic Hawkeyes. More friendships grow. Instead of the predictable dread of relocating to a lonely and unfamiliar area, new friends exist and social growth occurs. The common denominator is easily evident. Maybe Hunter was correct.
Frequent road trips back to Iowa City find my alumnae daughters back on campusyes, criminals always return to the scene of the crime. Whatever the occasion, my cherubs recultivate old friendships and enthusiastically reaffirm allegiance to their dear sweet alma mater. Its as if they had never left. And I trust my current student will continue the same pattern. Was Hunter selling a notion, or was he prophetic?
This identical concept applies to parents. Not being alumni ourselves, Rita and I fumbled around campus just like our first student. Rookies, pure and simple. But with time and a sense of exploration, we adapted more and more. By attending events at Hancher Auditorium, Kinnick Stadium, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, residence halls, and sorority houses we began to bond, and the romance built. By virtue of our financial donations to the Parents Association (you will soon be given the opportunity), we have been able to leave a living legacy for current students in the form of e-mail stations around campus, the emergency telephone system, auxiliary campus safety lighting, scholarships, and other projects. Like our students, we became Iowa. So Hunter Rawlings was accurate but he understated his case. Students and PARENTS can become Iowa!
Still skeptical? Hey, its OK, I truly understand. Just give it a few years, and then you may remove that sarcastic smile. On behalf of all the Parents Association board members, we want to assist you in any way we can to help your student and you "Become Iowa."
Article by Jim Pavlacic
Jim Pavlacic is a pharmacist from Peoria, Illinois. He and wife Rita are the proud parents of three Hawkeye graduates, and daughter Katie is a junior.