Millions of parents sent their kids off to college this fall for the first time. But few were as famous as former President Barack Obama.

And according to the former commander in chief, dropping off his eldest daughter, Malia, was one of the most difficult things he’s done.

Obama revealed that he was overcome with emotions when he and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, moved their 19-year-old daughter into her dorm last month at Harvard University.

“For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast. I dropped off Malia at college, and I was saying to Joe and Jill [Biden] that it was a little bit like open-heart surgery,” the-56-year-old said Sunday at the Beau Biden Foundation’s golf and tennis invitational at Delaware’s Wilmington Country Club. “I was proud that I did not cry in front of her. But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough.”


In June 2016, Malia graduated from Sidwell Friends School, a private institution of higher learning in Washington, D.C. She opted to take what is known as a gap year, delaying her college start before going to Harvard.

Obama also had this to say about Malia’s monumental Harvard send-off.

“[It’s] a reminder that, at the end of our lives, whatever else we’ve accomplished, the things that we’ll remember are the joys that our children–and hopefully way later, our grandchildren–bring us.”


Obama may have a bit of breathing room, but not much. His youngest daughter, Sasha, 16, will be heading off to college in no time (if she decides to follow her big sister’s footsteps).