Most incoming college freshmen hug their parents at the end of move-in day and send them back home. Duston Brown sent his parents a few hundred yards away as they were becoming Muleriders with him.
The Brown family has five students enrolled at Southern Arkansas University: father, David; mother, Hilda; Jordan, 21; Jordan’s wife, Heather McLeckie; and Duston, 19. All want to work in education in northeast Texas after they finish their schooling at SAU. The men of the family all want to go into coaching, while Hilda hopes to be in the classroom and Heather in higher education student affairs.
Duston did not seem to be bothered by the fact his parents were joining him for his college career. He said his friends did not even tease him much. The family laughed as he told a story about when he was in a resident assistant meeting. During the meeting, a community advisor from the University Village apartments where the Browns lived said, “I’ve got the old couple.” Duston slowly raised his hand and replied, “Yeah, those are my parents.”
Jordan was already in school before the rest of his family joined him, and he said he was all for them coming to SAU. He remembered saying to his father, “You don’t have anything to do right now. Dad, just do it (college).”
David was in the insurance business for around 25 years before getting burned out and leaving. Hilda had worked at a bank for around 20 years and held other jobs before she started her college career at Texarkana College. David always had dreams of being a coach, so it all came together when Duston was preparing to become a Mulerider.
Hilda admitted that she was anxious about how Duston would feel with his parents following him to college and even how her classmates would feel about have someone their mother’s age sitting beside them when all they probably wanted to do was to have independence. Since coming to Southern Arkansas, though, she said she has been pleasantly surprised at how she and her husband have been received by everyone.
For the Brown family, college has truly become a family affair.