A Few Reflections on Commencement and the Class of 2019

Where did the time go?

For those of you whose students graduated this past Saturday, I imagine this is a thought that has crossed your mind several times since then.

Wheeler lawn overflows with happy graduates and their families.

Being a part of commencement—even peripherally—has always been one of my favorite things about working at a university: a crowd of excited soon-to-be graduates; happy (and sometimes relieved) families and friends; witty mortarboards; loads of smiles and a few tears. What’s not to love?

You’ll get to meet some of the members of the Class of 2019 in the July issue of Longwood magazine. (If you would like to be added to the magazine mailing list, email me at browncs2@longwood.edu.)

Yahoo — all through!
Commencement means smiles all around.

I guarantee you’ll be impressed with how Longwood has prepared them for life after graduation.  Here’s a bit of a sneak preview:
—Two young women are heading off to teach in a remote village in Alaska.
—One student was inducted into the U.S. Army and will be working on a Ph.D. in emerging infectious diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
—Another is already working as a storyboard artist for SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon.

I must admit I see commencement a bit differently now that my own daughter has walked across the stage at her university. It’s one of those occasions that marks an end and beginning, so I’m wondering if we’ll be together next Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m wishing I’d spent more time talking to her about things that matter. I’m wanting to know a little bit more about the person she became during her college experience. And, of course, I’m very excited about what lies ahead for her.

It’s a Longwood tradition for faculty to greet students after they cross the stage.
The identities of seniors who portrayed Longwood’s mascot, Elwood, are revealed at commencement.

So, for those of you whose students have a year or three or four still to go here at Longwood, this is my advice. Resist the temptation to wish for your student’s remaining college years to pass quickly. Instead, savor every experience—the amazing, the not-so-good and the unexceptional. All of these experiences will help your student grow. Spend time with your student when they’re home for a break or on the weekend. Do a little talking and a lot of listening.

Family members get to celebrate, too!

Parent Pipeline is wrapping up for the school year with this post. I will have an additional post coinciding with Orientation, and then resume regular Thursday posts in August.

I hope you have found some useful information here as well as content that makes you feel more connected to your students.

Finally, I would be extremely grateful if you’d share any ideas you have for posts in next year’s Parent Pipeline. This blog is for you, so please let me know what you would find most helpful and/or meaningful. Or you could let me know what your favorite posts were this year.

You can email me at browncs2@longwood.edu or post your ideas in the comments section on the Parent Pipeline Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LancerParentPipeline/.

Have a great summer!

—Sabrina Brown

Ask the Experts: Answers to Some Hard Questions

Campus security, costs and successfully transitioning to college are among the serious and sometimes difficult topics being discussed at colleges and universities today.

Longwood has addressed some common questions related to these topics with the help of the people who work most closely on these issues.

Below are some of the questions we asked these Longwood experts as well as links to the websites where you can find their answers to these questions and more.

Campus Security
Col. Bob Beach, chief of campus police

—Is the Longwood campus safe?
—How does Longwood communicate with students and others during an emergency situation?
—We live in an age of understandable worry about active shooter scenarios in public places like college campuses. What does Longwood do to prepare for such situations?

College Costs
Justin Pope, vice president and chief of staff to President W. Taylor Reveley IV

—Why does college, and Longwood in particular, cost so much?
—What about all those new buildings I see on campus? Are my tuition and fee dollars paying to build them?
—What is Longwood doing to keep tuition increases down?

Transition to College Life
Dr. Emily Heady, senior director of student success and retention

—If you were to list the three biggest obstacles students face in transitioning to college, what would they be?
—What are some things parents should do—and should avoid doing—to help a student transition to college?
—What happens if a student struggles to make friends, or with the college workload, or with academics in general? What support systems do we have?

—Sabrina Brown

I will be on vacation next week, so Lancer Parent Pipeline will return May 23.



Dog Day Afternoon Helps Take the Stress Out of Exam Week

Longwood went to the dogs yesterday afternoon.


Here a dachshund. There a pair of Westies. Several Labradors and retrievers. Some with pedigrees and some without. But all of them intent on giving students a break from the stress of final exams. A total of 37 dogs belonging to faculty and staff were registered to participate in the twice-yearly event, which is known as Study Paws and is organized by the student Therapeutic Recreation Organization (TRO).

Sophomores Kaitlyn and Molly were among the students who came out for a little canine-induced relaxation.

Molly said she needed a break from preparing for her first exam, which was at 8 a.m. today. Cash (a small poodle mix), Sunny (a Chihuahua mix) and Gizmo (a Pomeranian) gave up lots of hugs and sloppy kisses—just what the doctor ordered.

Gizmo the Pomeranian

Kaitlyn, who was particularly fond of Gizmo, sent her father a text saying she wanted one of the small, fluffy dogs. He wrote back saying he wanted one, too.

Other students giggled and laughed as they took photos with their new furry friends.

Making a new large, furry friend

“Studying for finals is stressful, and this is a great opportunity for students to take a break and decompress while surrounded by puppy love,” said Dr. Ann Bailey, assistant professor in the Therapeutic Recreation Program and faculty sponsor for TRO. “It’s also another unique opportunity for faculty and staff members to have some fun and interact with students outside the classroom.”

This event, like many others on campus, shows off the close-knit family atmosphere at Longwood. Some dogs and their owners are Study Paws regulars, including yellow lab Maggie and her human, Dr. Jake Milne ’99, a sociology professor and organizer of the first event several years ago. Milne was there with his wife, Heather Milne ’99, a staff member in communication studies.

Did someone say “fetch”?

Other staff members who participated included Lauren Whittington and JoDee Stringham from University Marketing and Communications, Paula Ellison from psychology, and Wendy McMillian and Suzanne Stetson from the registar’s office. Among the other faculty members who participated were Dr. Sarai Blincoe, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment, and her husband, Dr. Adam Blincoe, an Honors College faculty member.

The Brock Commons fountain is a great place to cool off—for dogs and humans

Temperatures yesterday approached 90 degrees, but neither the students nor the dogs seemed to mind—not even the Great Pyrenees or the Maremma-Abruzzese sheepdog, huge white dogs that easily weighed 150 pounds. That may have been due to the proximity of the Brock Commons fountain, which provided a great spot to cool off for humans and dogs.

—Lauren Whittington, senior writer in University Marketing and Communications, and Sabrina Brown contributed to this post