Current Parents Reflect: Worthwhile Investment, Optimism, Gratitude

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My wife and I were recently asked to reflect upon the eight years in which we have devoted our time and tuition in support of our two Davidson children. The question focused upon the economic commitment to a Davidson educational experience, but that is frankly not our first instinctive consideration. I feel it is not an easily quantifiable monetary concept; it is much more multidimensional, more one of commitment, character and quality. It is a gift of hope for a bright future, a prayer offering for the next generation for engaged lives of inquiry and fulfillment.

Tom and Betty Yarboro

Tom and Betty Yarboro

But, first things first. Let me say that we are thrilled that our students chose Davidson and even more grateful that Davidson chose them. For generations, it has been a special place that uniquely allows each individual to discover and pursue the best version of themselves imaginable. We have consistently found Davidson alumni to be grounded, principled, empathetic and self-aware. They possess a disproportionate capacity for good, prepared for lives of thoughtful leadership and compassionate service. Also, they just seem to make those around them better.

Now, if further pressed to evaluate the merit of a Davidson investment, two perspectives come to mind: societal and parental. From a societal point of view, the broader concept would be: Is the Davidson College learning community worthy of preferential personal support and investment? Based upon its principled traditions, consistent track record and thoughtful adaptation for a changing world, our answer has been a resounding YES; and that would be a YES whether we shared an affiliation as parents or not. Such a distinctive community of thought and mentored learning deserves support, and our society is better for it.

Regarding a parental perspective, the economics (tuition, fees, etc.) have been viewed by us as simply consequential to them being citizens of a community built on trust which fosters boundless opportunities between their ears, within their grasp and around the world. Was this the right community for our students? Absolutely.  How can we put a price on that? It seems inappropriate to cheapen their experience by assigning some metric of valuation as if it were merely a transaction. It simply feels wrong to attempt to assay the depth of transformational relationships or appraise the accrual of personal growth or expanded knowledge.

For any disciplined investors still looking for R.O.I., significant tangibles have increasingly been in evidence since their very first semester. We are confident that they, and all they impact, will continue to enjoy dividends (tangible and intangible) throughout their lives.

Ultimately, we as parents bring our children into this world, and later send them out into it. We do our very best to prepare them. For many, a college education is the last gift offered from a parent to a dependent child. As our seniors fulfill their requirements and graduate this spring, we as dutiful parents complete our contemplated course as well. We thank Davidson for allowing us to do so with few regrets, great optimism for the future and tremendous gratitude.

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About Author

Tom Yarboro

Tom and Betty Yarboro, parents of Thomas '13 and Eleanor '17, have served on the Parents Council since 2009 and are the current co-chairs. They have two additional daughters: Virginia (Middlebury ’15) and Charlotte (University of Chicago ’17).

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