The college of your parents occupies a significant space in the firmament of a family.
I was the son of a proud Princetonian (EBH Jr. ’44) and I’m pretty sure his legacy was the reason I was admitted to the Class of ’71. For my five children, I was known as both a one-time cheerleader for Princeton teams, and a figurative one in describing to them the benefits I got from four years at the school.
Yet when my oldest daughter, a cum laude and tri-varsity athlete, graduated from Phillips Exeter in 2002, neither her accomplishments nor our family legacy were enough to earn her a place at Princeton. She matriculated at Brown, but I judge that she never overcame the sense that she had disappointed me, my father, and even her siblings. None of my other children applied to Princeton.
We lost both affiliation and affinity with the school. The belief we carried that the school valued our family and our history there evaporated. Rather like a man whose wife of many years departs for someone new, I felt not just disappointed, but somehow embarrassed.