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Parents Reflect On Students... MIT Years

By Satwik Seshasai

Last Friday’s commencement ceremony was not just the culmination of students’ experiences at MIT, it was also a time for many proud parents to recount their four or more years of association with the Institute. Parents’ perspectives on MIT were overwhelmingly positive, with some offering advice for the parents of incoming MIT students.

Regardless of the number of years spent at MIT or whether they were enrolled in graduate or undergraduate programs, graduates celebrated with very positive reactions from parents and family. William Cooley, father of Jamie E. Cooley PhD ’06, said that MIT “broadened his [son’s] skills significantly.” Donna Bevan, mother of M.B.A. Graduate Eric A. Bevan ’99, said that her son first saw MIT at age 10 and knew then that he wanted to attend. Eric Bevan has since received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT.

Paula Arfin was one of many parents overwhelmed by MIT’s academic excellence. Her son Scott Kenneth Arfin S.M. ’06 worked with “people who were number one in their country,” she said. Ann D’Auria, mother of Michael W. D’Auria ’06, was impressed and appreciative that her son had the opportunity to compete in international sports while at MIT, including a basketball trip to Taiwan.

Bharti Venkatraman, mother of Dheera Venkatraman ’06, noticed the social change that MIT had on her son. “On the first day, he was holding onto us and wouldn’t let us out of his sight,” Bharti Venkatraman said. “Since then he has travelled the world alone.” Rosa King, mother of Yao-Chung King ’06, a former The Tech staffer, said that the impression MIT left on her was that “everybody has the same equal opportunity to do whatever you think possible.”

Offering advice to parents of incoming freshmen, the parents cited the need for compassion, patience, and food. “Listen to your children for the first five minutes every time, then speak,” Bharti Venkatraman said. “Send them food,” Rosa King said. Echoing the general advice of experienced MIT parents, Ann D’Auria said, “There are some hard moments. They need encouraging words, a hot meal, phone calls, and help with laundry.”