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The Blue & Gray Press | July 18, 2019

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UMW's annual Family Weekend reunites students and families

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Campus came alive this past weekend as students of the University of Mary Washington met with their parents for the first time since move-in day for the annual ‘Family Weekend.’ Student’s families spent their weekend learning more about the academics of the university, eating good food and taking in all the sights of Fredericksburg.

On Friday, Sept. 19, parents were given the opportunity to sit in classes. This gave parents the opportunity to get a feel of what it’s like to be a UMW student. Along with this hands-on experience, family weekend offers an array of lectures and entertainment that related to both students and their parents. There were a few lectures held at the Hyatt Place hotel aimed more at the parents on topics such as helicopter parenting and a discussion about the ideas of culture and race.

Campus was swarming with people on Saturday with different events happening all day on campus, including entertainment on Ball Circle and information sessions in the academic buildings.

The first thing that took place was breakfast with the deans of the university. This was a an opportunity to enjoy great food and company with Richard Finkelstein, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Mary Gendernalik-Cooper, dean of the College of Education, and Lynne Richardson, dean of the College of Business, as well as members of the Parent Leadership Circle.

Later on Ball Circle was the Cookout and Club Showcase, where students and their parents enjoyed some tasty eats and watched a series of performances put on by the different clubs and organizations at UMW.

One of the main focuses of Family Weekend was to highlight the importance of getting to know the university, along with taking full advantage of what it has to offer. A main attraction for all UMW students (not just freshmen) was the Study Abroad Fair in Lee Hall. For those seeking for more information on UMW’s Study Abroad program, this was the place to be.

“I found this really helpful and informative because it allowed me to ask direct questions about my plans to study abroad,” computer science major Jasmine Mann said.

Similar to the Study Abroad Fair, many academic departments held open houses to offer both students and their parents a more in-depth look at some of UMW’s majors.

Aside from everything happening on campus, there was just as much going on downtown. The 25th annual Welsh festival was held from 11a.m.-5p.m. An entire street filled with vendors, dancing and food. There was also Via Colori, the two-day chalk art festival, as well as Fredericksburg’s weekly Saturday farmer’s market.

One of the most popular and unique events of Family Weekend is the tour of Brompton, home of the UMW president. President Rick Hurley’s home was decorated with great attention to detail, including many artifacts from the Civil War time period.

All the grandeur aside, it really is a treat to be welcomed into the home of the president and to be able to meet him in a more personal setting. Regardless of the fact that the president met more than 300 students throughout the afternoon, the experience was still extremely special and intimate.

“We are a community, and this is an extension of that community, Hurley said.