It’s not often that students actually get closer to their parents when they go off to college, but this was the case for freshman Charlie Gibbons. Gibbons, who is on the Knox football and baseball teams, works directly with his father Andy Gibbons, the Fitness Center Director and Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Knox athletics.
“We’ve definitely become closer, we were already super close, but our relationship has taken another step since I’ve been here,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons said it wasn’t new for the duo to be working so closely. His father had been coaching him his entire childhood.
“He’s been my coach my entire life. He’s helped me through my old football, basketball, baseball days and all of my lifting,” Gibbons said.
For junior Ava Lu, having her mother, Professor of Computer Science Monica McGill, nearby was a little odd to get to used to.
“It’s weird if let’s say I go to a registered party and your mom, being on campus, asks ‘oh how was this event?’ Oh well that’s weird I don’t want to tell you about that,” Lu said.
However, both parents try to stay out of their children’s college lives, giving them space and trying to give them the most normal “college experience” possible.
“I try and give him his space and let him have his college experience without me bothering him all the time,” Andy Gibbons said. “I just want to make sure that it’s not your parents looking over your shoulder all the time. If I’m in the weight room and somebody says something about Charlie, it’s his life you know.”
For McGill, a benefit of having a college-aged daughter is that she gains a student perspective about her classes and teaching.
“Sometimes I’ll ask her, ‘so have you heard about this new class I’m teaching?’ Just to like see what’s going around the grapevine on her side. That’s usually interesting to get that perspective because I don’t normally get that,” McGill said.
For Lu, her decision to come to Knox was strongly influenced by her mother being here and the financial benefits that were available for Lu.
“It was the only reason. I didn’t want to graduate with debt. I have an advantage and a privilege to graduate without debt, so I’m going to take advantage of that, of course,” Lu said.
For Gibbons, his decision to come to Knox was a homecoming of sorts as his father has been a part of Knox athletics for 28 years and his son had “grown up on the [Knox] sidelines.’”Yet, that didn’t make the decision of coming to Knox any clearer for Charlie.
“I did stay out of it and it was hard to stay out because … deep down I thought it would be so awesome to see him in the Knosher Bowl playing football and out on the baseball field playing baseball,” Gibbons said. “But in the end I had to let him go through this recruiting process and make his own decision.”
Even though Charlie interacts with his father all the time, through football and baseball designed lifts, he never feels like he is being treated any differently.
“He definitely treats me like a regular athlete, he coaches me just the same exact way as he coaches everybody else,” he said.
And as for Lu, she feels no desire to take any of her mother’s classes due to a lack of interest in computer science. She jokes that she has already spent enough time with her mother.
“I’ve already lived with my mother, I know how she is. I don’t need to take one of her classes to see how she is as a professor,” Lu said.
Both parents are very happy their children are at Knox, with Gibbons being very proud of seeing his son on the sports teams he has coached for over twenty years.
“Selfishly I’m very proud, very proud he’s here. You envision him as a kid on the sidelines and now he’s out there playing offensive tackle,” Gibbons said.
McGill is similarly proud to see her daughter grow at Knox and find a home here.
“I think she’s come to appreciate Knox a lot and I think she loves it here,” McGill said.