Acceptance Letters: Parents, college and letting go

Saying Goodbye

Jennifer Delahunty
September 30, 2014

When a son or daughter graduates from college, the parents also must say "adieu,” noted Kenyon parent and celebrated Pittsburgh journalist Sally Kalson in her 2012 op-ed, "And now she graduates, but not to worry ..." She lamented that though her daughter was ready to bust out of Kenyon after four years, she was not as eager to see her go. "It’s no wonder parents far removed from their own school years relive them through their children. Those rhythms, the ways of measuring time ingrained from the early years, remain long after the events fade, a little like phantom feeling from a missing limb."

Though Sally and her husband both attended large public universities, she recognized that a small private liberal arts school like Kenyon was a better fit for her daughter, affectionately comparing Kenyon to “Brigadoon,” “Shangri-La,” and “Hogwarts.”

After graduating from Kenyon in 2012 with a double major in anthropology and Spanish, her daughter, Zoe, moved to San Francisco, where she is a community HealthCorps member at New Generation Health Center, counseling patients on family planning.

Sally passed away last weekend. On Sept. 28, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reprinted her column about her daughter’s graduation as one of her signature columns. Her writing has all the qualities that made Sally so popular with readers — honesty, intimacy, insight. Sally will be missed by her readers, and her tribute to Kenyon and to her daughter's transition from one phase of life to another touches us all.

To read Sally's full column, tap here