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Dr. Dad, Ph.D.

Dr. Dad, Ph.D.

BY SAMANTHA CALDERONE

Some of the students at the University of Scranton have a unique experience simply because of who their parents are. There are quite a few students at The University who have professors for parents, and each of their experiences has been different. For some, having a parent who is a professor creates an environment similar to home. However, the overall consensus is that those with professor parents actually enjoy having their parents at The U.

For Clare Domenico, a senior history major, having her father work at the university has created an interesting dynamic, as Domenico’s major aligns with the department her father works in. Domenico shared a story from the first time she had her dad as her professor.

“We played a game to have the other students not know that we were related. So the entire first half of the semester I would call him Dr. Domenico, he wouldn’t say ‘my daughter’ or anything,” Domenico said. “But the thing is I would always sign my papers and tests ‘your daughter,’ so halfway through the semester I was getting a test back from him and he read the name out loud. So he goes ‘your daughter…oh Clare, here you go’ and then he realized what he did and everybody was like ‘Oh!’”

Domenico shared she enjoys having her dad as a professor at the University, and she and her father are so similar that when they are together they enjoy embarrassing each other.

St. John Whittaker, senior environmental, bio-chem and philosophy triple major, shared parts of his experience with his father as the “toga professor” on campus. He explained that he has only taken one class with his father while on campus, but spent a lot of time in his father’s office during his first two years at The U.

“The first day of Triv when he was calling roll he was sort of pretending he didn’t know me. So he went through the first row, asking ‘what is your name and what do you want to be called’, so when he did that to me and I said ‘son,’” Whittaker said.

Whittaker said most of the students in his father’s class were in SJLA and already knew that their professor was his father. He said that although he does not see his dad much on campus, it was interesting to see him “in his element” as a professor. “It was interesting to see him, ‘cause he’s a different person, sort of -- at home being a dad and then in class being a professor. It’s not inauthentic, it’s just different” Whittaker said. Zoe Haggerty, senior philosophy and theology major, also talked about her experience with her father as the chair of the philosophy department, and the director of the SJLA program.

 “So I am in the SJLA program and since he is the director, it’s a little awkward sometimes and I did have to take one class with him my sophomore year called metaphysics and since I want to go to law school I had to take logic and he is the only one who teaches that,” Haggerty said.

Haggerty shared that it’s nice having her father on campus, even though she finds it a little awkward sometimes. “So it’s kind of a well-known fact, throughout SJLA at least, that my dad likes to have a lot of his stories in class relate to me. Growing up I always knew he was talking about me in class and I thought it was funny but having my classmates take classes with him and hearing all these stories and then being in class with him telling these stories he would say ‘one of my daughters’ and then look at me so everyone knew it was me,” Haggerty said.

 She explained that she and her dad have both formed their own identities on campus, even though their paths may overlap. Haggerty also said that she believes having a professor parent is unique for her class because she knows two other students who are also in SJLA, and whose parents also are a part of the SJLA program. Overall, the students who shared their experiences seemed to have come to a consensus that although the idea takes some getting used to, they are happy with the decision they made to come to The U even though their parents work here.