Parent Perspective: What Future Parents Need to Know

This story is featured in the Fall 2017 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below why parents support HPU and the impact the university has on their children. 

HPU’s tremendous growth over the last decade has been fueled by continued advocacy from parents. Below, current parents share insight on how the university helped their students transform into mature adults, as well as how other parents can take advantage of the many opportunities provided by HPU. 


HPU Parent: Lou Samara
HPU Student: Louis Samara, Class of 2019
Hometown: Mendham, New Jersey

Q. As a parent, what drew you to HPU?
A. When we got to campus, we walked down the promenade. I looked around noticing the environment. The classical music playing on the promenade, the impeccably clean, well-designed, maintained and organized grounds and the sculptures of people who have accomplished great things

Q. In what ways have you watched your son grow and change during his time at HPU?s
A. Louis came in a bit unsure of himself but we agreed, with the guidance of Dr. Qubein, that the best first step was the Summer Experience. Taking classes in the summer before his freshman year officially began allowed him to settle in, get to know some students and staff on a more intimate level and really make connections that are serving him well. Since then, he has grown and is continuing to mature beyond what anyone would have expected. He is confident, bright and passionate, yet gentle and steady in his approach to his work and life. He is also well grounded and involved with different organizations. More importantly he has identified with his Christian beliefs, attends a local church with friends and has been involved in different campus ministries.

Q. What has been your most memorable experience during a visit to campus?
A. There are quite a few. Meeting so many wonderful families and students as well as staff and special guests
all stand out. But, the most memorable was our first tour. Prior to our scheduled day, I emailed and asked Dr. Qubein if he would meet my son who was already accepted and considering HPU. He readily agreed and asked me to find him after his presentation to the visiting families. We met and immediately connected. Dr. Qubein gave us one hour of his time and attention. We discussed many important issues which confirmed my initial feelings about HPU being the best place for Louis.

Q. If you could offer advice to the parents of any incoming HPU students, what would it be?
A. Get involved with the school. I highly encourage all families to join either the Parents Council or President’s Leadership Cabinet. My wife, Leslie, and I are honored to be a part of the PLC, which has been a fabulous way to support the school and meet other families who have similar values and aspirations for their children and our country. Your child will see your involvement and respect you and the school for that involvement.



HPU Parents: Larry and Heather Gaetano
HPU Student: Zac Gaetano, Class of 2017
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland

Q. As a parent, what drew you to HPU?
A. We were lucky that it was part of the first college visit we did. There is nothing like setting foot on the HPU campus. You are instantly amazed. We had been to another school the day before, and it was great to have that immediate comparison. What impressed us immediately was an enthusiastic commitment to excellence. Some schools claim to have the commitment, but they lack the genuine enthusiasm to go out and achieve. We also were attracted to the South and the friendly people.

Q. In what ways have you watched your son grow and change during his time at HPU?
A. He is just many levels above where he was in his confidence and his self-sufficiency. He gets up, gets to class and gets good grades. It’s fun to look at on a big-picture level. He’s advocating for himself with his professors. We like that he was willing to take the leap of going six hours away from home. Most of his high school friends decided to go close to home, and I believe that leap has made him stronger.

Q. What has been your most memorable experience during a visit to campus?
A. When I think about HPU Convocation, that is a moment that really stands out.
The parents sit above students and you get to see the kids be together as a class for the first time. And Dr. Qubein speaks. And what I remember most is at the end of the ceremony, Zac was ready for us to leave so he could become independent, which is all we could have wanted. It really set the path for so many important things ahead.

Another notable moment was when Zac had the opportunity to do an independent study during his sophomore year where he wrote, produced and directed his own short film. He and his team were shooting the Sunday after we left from Winter Family Weekend, and we got to go see him on the set and in action.

It’s one of the stories I tell for why people should send their kid to HPU. Your child gets to produce a movie during their sophomore year. It was such a springboard for him toward what he wants to do with his life, and we were glad to see that it happened so early.  

Q. If you had one overarching goal for your son during his college career, what was it?Would you say he’s accomplished it?
A. I would say that our goal for Zac was that he would develop a passion that would carry him through his entire life. And he has. He knew he wanted to major in communication and started out as a Media Fellow, which got him a step ahead. Now, I can say that he definitely graduated with a passion.

Q. What was the best part of graduation?
A. We experienced his happiness, accomplishments and success with him that day. It was a bittersweet feeling to see the staff and the professors we have met at HPU and all of his fraternity brothers and the families we know. We are grateful to have shared that very special life step with all of them.



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