I am a professor: Can I co-exist with my daughter as a student?

Art professor Trish Simonite with art student

by Trish Simonite —

Since she was raised in San Antonio, I did not expect my daughter to choose Trinity University for her undergraduate studies. And because I am on the faculty, I thought she would choose to go far away. I was wrong – Trinity was her first choice. She was drawn to Trinity because of the great facilities, low student-to-faculty ratio, great education, the spacious dorms and the campus. The burgeoning diversity and international population also attracted her.

She did have some rules for my husband and me. We were not to visit her at the dorms. She wanted to be under the radar and did not want to be known as "Professor Simonite's daughter," a tall order with a surname like ours in this close community. It is impossible to slip between the cracks at Trinity. Faculty notice when students do not show up in our classes and we WILL contact them and follow up.

Students at Trinity University
Trinity University students assemble on the campus Esplanade.

It was interesting to witness new student orientation from a parent's perspective. I was impressed by how quickly students integrated into the Trinity community. By the end of the orientation period, students had made numerous friends. They were assigned student mentors and a faculty advisor helped select classes and navigate registration and college life.

My daughter was thrilled to be paired with a roommate from Ecuador. They remain close friends to this day. Francesca has visited Ecuador; her roommate’s parents have stayed with us, and we are planning a visit to Ecuador.

Being British and having heard stories about wild parties, I was rather horrified when my daughter wanted to join a sorority. I was happy to hear students can wait until their sophomore year to join one and that all sororities and fraternities raise money for good causes.

I believe my daughter’s education at Trinity among a motivated, intelligent, diverse, enterprising group of students and an excellent, caring faculty has had a tremendous influence on her. She became more adventurous, spending a junior semester abroad in India. She became more focused and goal oriented, staying for a fifth year to earn an M.AT., a master’s in teaching.

Her Trinity education has stood Francesca in good stead. When she moved to New York with no job, she roomed with Trinity friends. She applied for and obtained an internship at The New Museum and; found employment and supported herself through graduate school. She was recently awarded a teaching fellowship that is paying for her final year in grad school. She is currently completing an M.F.A. in photography at Brooklyn College in New York.

Trinity University professor Trish Simonite and daughter
Professor Trish Simonite, left, and her daughter, Francesca

About Trish
At Trinity, Trish Simonite is a professor of art and art history, specializing in photography. Her recent work is about the history of the landscape in places like England, Greece, and Spain.


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