Parting Ceremony for Students and Parents
In order to separate doting parents from their freshman sons, Morehouse College in Atlanta has instituted a formal “Parting Ceremony.”
It began on a recent evening, with speeches in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Then the incoming freshmen marched through the gates of the campus - which swung shut, literally leaving the parents outside.
When University of Minnesota freshmen move in at the end of August, parental separation was a little sneakier: mothers and fathers were invited to a reception elsewhere so students can meet their roommates and negotiate dorm room space - without adult meddling.
Grinnell College here, like others, has found it necessary to be explicit about when parents really, truly must say goodbye. After computer printers and duffle bags had been carried to dorm rooms, everyone gathered in the gymnasium, students on one side of the bleachers, parents on the other. Shortly after, mothers and fathers were urged to leave campus.
Moving their students in usually takes a few hours. Moving on? Most deans can tell stories of parents who lingered around campus for days. At Colgate University, a mother and father once went to their daughter's classes on the first day of the semester and trouped to the registrar's office to change her schedule, recalled Beverly Low, the dean of first-year students.
A more common approach is for colleges to introduce blunt language into drop-off schedules specifying the hour for last hugs. As of 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, for example, the parents of Princeton freshmen learn from the move-in schedule, “subsequent orientation events are intended for students only.”