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OP-ED: Adam Grant Has Big Papa Energy


Photo by nrkbeta / CC BY-SA 2.0

For years now professor Adam Grant has flown under the radar on this campus, but no longer. This Wharton professor is the biggest Papa I have ever seen, and nothing can convince me otherwise.

Our culture has been obsessed with “daddies,” men who are virile, aggressive, and deliciously sexy. But too often do we forget to celebrate the yin to Daddies’ yang: the Papa. Papas are quiet, gentle souls, the men who make good homemakers and husbands and are proud of you for just trying your best. While daddies only care about what’s in your pants, Papas only care about what’s in your heart. 

This is what makes Grant such a wonderful example for men everywhere on this campus. His features are gentle and friendly, and his voice a tenor as warm and comforting as the blanket that swaddled me in my crib. His handshake is firm but not suffocating, as if he were enfolding your hand in a tender hug. Whenever you speak on the phone with Mr. Grant, he speaks as if you and he were reunited friends, even if you had just spoken yesterday. Mr. Grant’s Papa energy is so strong that whenever I see him sitting down I have to actively fight the urge to sit on his lap and ask for a bedtime story. 

Were I ever to have the honor of dating his daughter, I know that I wouldn’t have to worry about him threatening me. I would imagine that as we pulled out of the driveway together Mr. Grant would wave at us with a friendly smile, confident that I would be an honorable man and bring his daughter home before 11:00. At our wedding five years later, he would weep openly and joyfully as he escorted her down the aisle, and do the same as they danced together that night. I would have no problem calling him “dad”, and in fact would inexplicably feel that was more paternalistic than even my own father. 

When asked to comment on his status as Big Papa on campus, Grant simply chuckled. “Well, I don’t know about that,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “However, I really just want everyone to know that I'm genuinely happy to be here."