He made a swift exit after dropping her off at her Harvard dorm last month, covering his face with sunglasses as he quickly hopped in to a waiting SUV.
And on Monday, Barack Obama reflected on the milestone occasion and how it got the better of him emotionally.
Speaking at a Beau Biden Foundation event in Delaware, he said: ‘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.
‘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,’ he said.
He said the day reminded him 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.’
Barack Obama reflected on dropping his daughter Malia off at college, describing the emotional milestone on August 21 (pictured above) as ‘a bit like open-heart surgery’
Malia, 19, moved on to campus on August 21, a day before the rest of her classmates.
She has spent the last year completing an internship at Harvey Weinstein’s production company in New York City.
Her father has made no secret of his emotional side and freely admits to tearing up during milestone moments involving either of his two daughters.
He declined an invitation to speak at her high school graduation ceremony in June last year, opting instead to sit in the audience like ‘a total dad’ where he would be able to shed a few tears behind his sunglasses.
Since moving in to her new digs, Malia has settled into college life somewhat seamlessly.
Almost immediately after her parents left her on August 21, she was seen mingling with other students outside the building and no doubt making new friends.
She has also been spotted jogging around campus and attending classes.
Obama (left on Monday) said he cried after saying goodbye to his daughter Malia, 19, (right last month on campus) but not in front of her
Video courtesy of WDEL
Since moving on to campus last month, Malia has settled in to college life seamlessly. She is pictured the day after her parents left, enjoying a salad on the lawn with some classmates
It seems she is eager to put behind her the constant glare of life in the public eye.
Last month, the teenager is reported to have snapped at a woman who tried to take a photograph of her without her permission.
Malia had already politely refused the woman’s request when she noticed her lurking her around, trying to snap a photograph while she wasn’t looking.
‘Are you gonna take it in my face like an animal in a cage?’ she is reported to have quipped.
It is not clear what Malia is studying but her course choices are likely to lend themselves to her passion for film making.
Former president Obama made the remarks at an event for the Beau Biden Foundation in Delaware. He was joined by former Vice President Joe Biden
President Obama was joined at the charity event on Monday by former Vice President Jo Biden.
He used his speech to pay tribute to Biden’s late son Beau who he described as being ‘all about duty’.
‘I am here just to lend my voice and my support to a family that I care deeply about, to honor a man that I thought the world of, and to say thank you to all of you for supporting this wonderful cause.’
Joe Biden gave his own remarks, telling the room: ‘You’re allowing Beau’s dream–when he said children can’t speak for themselves, we have to speak for them, and you’re allowing that to happen.
‘Beau is setting a pattern, that he set in the attorney general’s office here–literally for the United States of America–other attorneys general offices across the country are mimicking the things Beau had put in place and [that] Beau had done.’
Malia began classes at Harvard (above) in August. It is not known if she has a Secret Service detail protecting her at the university’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts