What I'm hearing from parents

Photo of UCSC graduate at commencement

Graduation is a proud day for everyone, including Slug parents. Photo by Shmuel Thaler.

Continuing my "what I'm hearing from…" theme, I always appreciate what parents have to say about UCSC. A few weeks ago, we heard from the father of a student who graduated 14 years ago and is now a professor at Kent State University in Ohio. Fourteen years after graduation, he took the time to write a letter of appreciation—how's that for loyalty?

This father described visiting the campus for the first time on their way to Reed College in Portland, another college known for "free spirits" where his son's high school journalism teacher had all but convinced him to go. Driving up to campus, he thought he'd taken a wrong turn. Grazing cattle? Redwoods? The Admissions Office looked like "an old barn," he wrote. But his son promptly spotted a friend from home who'd enrolled at UCSC the year before, and he took off to spend the day shadowing his buddy and sitting in on classes.

You know much of the rest of the story, I suspect, because every student—and every parent—raves about our campus's beauty. They appreciate UCSC's academics, and even those who are initially skeptical come to appreciate our iconoclastic Banana Slug mascot.

This student had the added bonus of excelling at tennis under the tutelage of legendary coach Bob Hansen. His father recalls the day his son and his partner took the court during a tournament against the second-ranked Stanford team. "The Stanford pair came on to the center court wearing expensive uniforms and bags full of racquets," he wrote, adding that the UCSC pair won the tournament wearing their Banana Slug T-shirts—and received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.

This year, that same Banana Slug was elected a distinguished professor by the students of Kent State University. And he reached the finals of the Cleveland city tennis tournament. "Banana Slugs rule," wrote his father, as proud as ever of his son.

Comments or questions? Write to chancellor@ucsc.edu and put "Parents" in the subject line.