Freshmen flood VU
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 18, 2012 11:40PM
Incoming freshmen with the help of sorority and fraternity members move in to Valparaiso University's Lankenau Hall on Saturday August 18, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:22AM
VALPARAISO — Renee Pollaro is usually a rock when it comes to her emotions.
That wasn’t the case Saturday morning when she helped her daughter Frances, 18, unload her belongings outside Lankenau Hall on the Valparaiso University campus. Frances, who graduated from Lake Central High School, is a freshman majoring in nursing.
Her oldest daughter just moved out and Pollaro, of Schererville, said she’ll be an empty nester.
“I didn’t think this was going to bother me. It’s bothering me,” Pollaro said, adding she cried the entire way to campus.
Frances said she chose VU because she could begin the nursing program her freshman year. “I can still get the college experience and it’s close to home,” she said.
Similar scenarios played out along the curb outside Lankenau and nearby Alumni Hall, as freshmen and transfer students arrived on campus.
The university is expecting its largest incoming class in about 30 years, with an estimated 1,000 new freshmen and transfers, about 15 percent more than last year, said David Fetig, VU’s executive director of financial aid and enrollment planning.
Included in that number is a record number of international and American minority students, more than 25 percent of the total, Fetig said.
Elaine Howdeshell also was misty-eyed about letting go of her daughter Megan, 18, another nursing student. She started crying 15 minutes after she left her home in Bourbon, midway between Plymouth and Warsaw.
“It’s exciting. I’m proud of her,” she said, adding the hardest part would be when she left.
She and Megan rode together so they could have a heart-to-heart before Megan took off on her own. She encouraged Megan to pick up the phone and call when she faces rough times.
“I don’t want her to feel like she’s alone, and she won’t be here,” Howdeshell said, adding VU’s close feeling is one of the reasons they picked the campus.
Megan, who returned after checking out her dorm room, which she dubbed “so tiny,” admitted to her own mixed feelings.
“I’m ready but nervous. It’s weird,” she said. “I’ll probably cry when they leave.”