Visiting Hofstra University

As a parent there are some moments that are benchmarks – signals your child has reached an important milestone. Sunday was one of those days.

We woke up early and drove to Hofstra University, where Steffie has been admitted for the class of 2009.

It was a spectacular day with bright sunshine, dry air and comfortable temperatures. I asked Helaine to shoot a few pictures as we crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge, because on a day like today, Manhattan in the far distance is very impressive.

Our trip to Hofstra went without a hitch and took around 1:30. By the time we got there other families were also arriving. There was little need for on campus directions – all we had to do was follow the throng.

As we walked along there were students and faculty wearing ribbons and “Ask Me” name tags. One of them corralled us, took Steffie’s registration information and handed her a cloth bag with school materials and a very large, gray, Hofstra t-shirt.

We stood around in the sunshine for a few minutes and then walked into a large theater, taking our seats in the fourth row.

About 15 minutes before the scheduled start time the Hofstra Pep Band began to play. They started out of sight, but were lifted up to stage level on an elevator in the orchestra pit. Though they weren’t the tightest group I’d ever heard, they accomplished their goal, because we were getting enthused.

It should be noted, there are pep band songs that every school’s band plays. It’s probably very lucrative to own the rights to “Give Me Good Lovin'” originally done by the Spencer Davis or a dozen others that are played wherever hoops are shot.

The first official speaker was the president of the university, brought on the the dean of admissions. The the provost came and spoke a little longer.

Though Steffie has already made up her mind to go to Hofstra, it became obvious that a major thrust of this session was to sell undecideds on choosing Hofstra.

Colleges and universities have a difficult job. They must take enough students to fill their school, but they have no way to know how many who are accepted will really attend… or how many who are wait listed will still be around if they’re needed.

Even as a non-profit, without a neutral or positive cash flow each year, schools won’t survive.

Steffie has decided she wants to major in public relations which is within the School of Communication. In a wonderful talk, Professor Ellen Frisina explained the long painstaking deliberations that came before deciding to call it the School of Communication, not Communications. She admits she still isn’t quite sure what the difference is, but it is singular!

We were very impressed by Professor Frisina and went up to talk with her, as did with many others, after the session.

There is one thing I’ll disagree with. I heard it today, and it had been a theme when we visited other college campuses. The claim is their program will prepare you to walk out of college and into a job, already having mastered in college what you’re going to be doing in the professional world.

I don’t see how they teach, or what they teach, but college is not the real world. I have yet to see anyone, ever, walk in off a college campus “good to go.” There are always nuances and pressures not experienced in college which factor into every job from day one.

This was a positive experience for all of us and I think (at this moment) Steffie is more confident than ever in her choice of a major.

I am more than a little jealous after having read a brochure for their on campus facilities. Each dorm room is connected to the Internet with OC-3 speed – 115 Mbps. That is approximately 25 times faster than my cable modem delivers!

It was also interesting to see this bank of copying machines on the lower level of the library. I’m curious if the availability of ‘cut and paste’ research materials has turned these into expensive dinosaurs?

Our school visit over, Stef asked if she could make a short stop at Roosevelt Field Mall. I’ve written about this mall, built over the airfield Lindbergh used when he flew across the Atlantic, before.

At 7:52 A.M., May 20, 1927, Charles Lindberg left on his solo flight across the Atlantic. The Spirit of St. Louis, loaded with gasoline, lumbered down the runway before finally becoming airborne. He barely had enough altitude to clear the telephone lines at the end of the runway at Roosevelt Field.

You would think Roosevelt Field, though no longer used for aviation, would be a memorial or historic shrine to the bravery, accomplishment and good luck of Charles Lindberg. No, this is Long Island – it’s a mall.

While they shopped, I attempted to sleep in the car. I parked in the garage with the thought it would be cooler out of the sun. That was true. However, the radio reception was awful and I learned everyone on Long Island… OK most people on Long Island… have car alarms which chirp when they’re enabled and randomly wail!

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