Over the years, academic advisor Marty Greenberg, M.S. ’86, has helped thousands of freshmen choose their classes. But there was one student this year he couldn’t advise—at least officially.
His daughter, Sarah, is a freshman at Illinois State and since she’s in the Honors Program, she has an advisor there. But that didn’t mean her dad couldn’t suggest a geology class over dinner.
The University College advisor was careful to let his daughter make her own decisions, and that included where to go to college. She visited one university three times before she chose Illinois State, just a few miles down the street from her Normal home.
“The more I looked, the more I realized I should look at ISU,” she said. “It was so much friendlier than other schools. And I didn’t have any reservations because my dad was here. He was really good about telling me about ISU but not forcing it.”
When she decided to study English here, she didn’t worry about bumping into him on the Quad or the possibility he would check her grades from his Fell Hall office.
“He is an extremely serious counselor/advisor,” she said. “He wouldn’t even look at my COMPASS Math scores without permission from me. He is very good about keeping daughter/dad stuff separate.”
But there is one odd thing.
“It is a little weird having some of my friends advised by my dad,” she said, laughing.
Although Marty’s spent 13 years on campus, he’s still a freshman parent, meaning he wasn’t prepared for a couple of things.
Like the tuition bill. And the financial aid process. And housing contracts.
“Financial aid is a different world because I don’t deal with financial aid,” he said. “Housing is a different world. It’s not anything that I work with.”
Although he’s worked for Preview, he and his wife, LaNell, attended the two-day summer orientation program with their daughter. When it came time for Sarah to register, he didn’t sit in, not because he couldn’t, but because he doesn’t encourage parents to do so and he had his own students to see that day—with a caseload of nearly 400 freshmen.
“There is an element of confusion with my role being so close that makes it challenging,” he said. “But I’m not going to be calling Honors or her new advisor because it’s not appropriate. My daughter is the one going to school.”
He gave Sarah a bit of advice he’d share with any freshman: Ask for help when you need it, and stay on campus or it’ll be harder to make new friends.
“She thought she was going to get the car. I told her she wouldn’t need a car. She thought she was going to come home on the weekends.”
On move-in day, dad was there to carry boxes and hammer a loft into place, but he had to go back to his job in the afternoon. And yet before he left, he did something any dad would do.
He killed the centipede.
Kate Arthur can be reached at kaarthu@IllinoisState.edu.