Family Weekend brings joy to students, families and faculty

Parents and families spent the weekend celebrating their students and participating in their daily activities in Birmingham. | MEAGAN MEADOW, PHOTO EDITOR


Hallie King, News Editor

Family Weekend is an annual tradition, bringing students and those closest to them together for a weekend.

“The goal of Family Weekend is twofold,” said Susan Doyle, director of parent programs. “It allows families to see their students and get a glimpse into their student’s Samford world and to more deeply connect Samford families with the university and each other.”

Activities abounded for students, parents and their families to participate in around campus. The excitement began on Friday as parents sat in on classes during Parent Academy sessions, families teamed up to participate in the photo scavenger hunt and friends joined together for popsicles with President Andy Westmoreland.

“The President’s Reception was moved outdoors to Ben Brown Plaza and featured, in addition to our favorite university president, Steel City Pops and great music from The Ratio,” Doyle said. “More than 1,700 registered to attend, and based on the number of pops served, we probably got very close.”

A carillon concert, a Vespers service in Hodges Chapel and a women’s soccer win against Chattanooga rounded out a successful first evening.

The campus atmosphere afforded parents the chance to live as a Samford student for the weekend. That opportunity included getting the academic experience in class, walking the hills of the university and meeting friends that were previously only a name to them.

“Family Weekend, to me, means that my parents can put a face to the people I talk about when I am home,” said junior religion major Christopher Wright.

Several events on Saturday included the Samford Parents Association breakfast, open houses, a tailgate welcoming all visiting families and a crowd-pleasing football game against the Citadel.

“The tents hosted by our state parent chapters grow each year in size and enthusiasm,” said Doyle. “This part of tailgating is explosive and very exciting! Tailgates this year were sponsored by parents in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas. Samford parents in South Carolina and California have already asked to be added to next year’s tailgate!”

On Sunday, First Baptist Church of Birmingham hosted parents at the School of the Arts’ annual Hymn Sing.

As joyful of an experience as it is for parents and families to travel to Birmingham and see their favorite students, it is equally as special for students to welcome their families into their home away from home. Families share experiences with their students who live them every day and applaud their dedication. They also bring students a piece of home no matter how far in distance they are when living in Birmingham.

“They enjoy being able to come to Samford and see where I go to school, see all the events going on and spending time with me,” said senior marketing major Ryan White. “We’re very close and any time I get to see them is great.”

Doyle plans to survey Samford families regarding their Family Weekend experience in order to shape future plans and make the weekend as special as it can be.

“Any time you can spend quality time with someone else, your appreciation for and understanding of that individual grows,” said Doyle. “The same is true with the relationships at the heart of Family Weekend. The Samford community is a family. Family Weekend allows us to connect more deeply and always leave wishing we had more opportunities to be together.”

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