200 Days in the Life of the College

Tuesday, February 8

Her first campus visit came early, and lasted a while

By Rebecca Behrens ’11

Nanyamka-Keyane Fleming ’14 is a different kind of legacy student. Yes, her mother attended Hamilton almost 20 years ago, but Fleming did as well. Fleming’s mother had been admitted to Hamilton through HEOP (the Higher Education Opportunity Program) as a high school senior when she discovered she was pregnant. She decided to defer admission a year, then bring her baby with her to Hamilton. Fleming lived in her mother’s residence hall room for the next four years.

Though she was young, Fleming has many memories of her early years at Hamilton. She distinctly remembers the scent of the Howard Diner and the campus map on Martin’s Way, which her mother refused to let her cartwheel over — lest she matriculate at Hamilton and be cursed and prevented from graduating within four years. But Fleming does not remember being exposed to much of the College culture. Other students knew not to drink around her, and her mother sheltered her from “age-inappropriate” elements. She says that her childhood was not much different from anyone else’s, nor her mother’s life much different from a regular student’s.

When it came time for Fleming to apply to college, she had Hamilton in mind, but she was not committed to it. Her mother, who Fleming describes as a “hardcore Hamiltonian,” did not pressure her to attend Hamilton, but in the end, the Hill “just felt right.” Fleming also came to Hamilton through HEOP. She arrived knowing some of the faculty, who still talk about “how cool it was to have a kid on campus.”

Fleming is not precisely tracing her mother’s path. While she plans to major in Africana studies like her mother, she intends to minor in art, while her mother minored in psychology. However, like her mother, she loves her Hamilton experience and foresees herself becoming another “hardcore Hamiltonian.”