University of Delaware
The photo booth was a hit with families.

Parents and Family Weekend a success

Hundreds of UD parents, families and students enjoy festivities


4:31 p.m., Nov. 22, 2013--Hundreds of University of Delaware parents and families visited their students Friday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 10, for UD’s annual Parents and Family Weekend, and as in years past, it was a huge success. 

“Parents and Family Weekend is a fantastic way for students and their families to spend quality time together enjoying activities, exploring campus and learning about all that the University has to offer,” said Dawn Thompson, vice president for student life. “Bringing families together on campus helps to strengthen our community and create lasting memories.”

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Festivities began Friday evening with a sold-out performance by Jim Gaffigan at the Bob Carpenter Center. A popular comedian who has appeared on The Daily Show and Conan, Gaffigan is known primarily for his hilarious jokes about food. UD’s student newspaper, The Review, provided front-page coverage of the event.

The comedy show wasn’t the only offering for families on Friday evening. Ed Okonowicz and Mike Dixon led several walking tours on campus that revealed an aspect of the University that is rarely told — its ghostly history. Okonowicz said the tours are a way for people to learn not only about folklore but also about real, historical events.

Campus tours and open houses

New to Parents and Family Weekend this year was the Residence Life and Housing open house, which included virtual and live tours of upper-division residence halls that enabled students to check out where they might live next year. 

“Students have started thinking about housing for next year,” said Kathleen Kerr, executive director of Residence Life and Housing. “The timing is a good opportunity, with families in town, to answer questions students might have about their housing options.”

Students and families were also able to tour UD’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab); student-run restaurant, Vita Nova; athletic training room in the Delaware Field House; and Lerner Trading Center, as well as visit open houses hosted by the Blue Hen Leadership Program and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Football and family fun

Before the kick-off against conference rival William and Mary, more than 250 families attended the Family Fest Tailgate held at the Bob Carpenter Center. The event featured a buffet, music by the steel drum band Delaware Steel, caricature and face painting artists, a photo booth and performances by members of the UD Marching Band, UD cheerleaders, the UDance team, and YoUDee and Baby Blue.

During the tailgate, students and families had the opportunity to meet with UD faculty and staff at a colleges’ open house held in the lobby of the Bob Carpenter Center. Among the representatives present were deans, academic advisers and Honors Program staff members. The open house enabled students and families to learn about academic opportunities, adding or changing majors and minors and more. 

Parents of Daniel Farmer of the Class of 2017, Mari-Carmen and Tatum Farmer from Philadelphia, attended many of the weekend events, including the Family Fest Tailgate, the colleges’ open house and the football game.

“Parents and Family Weekend was an incredible opportunity for connection — we spent quality time with our son, met his new friends and their families, interacted with staff members who have come to know him and felt the energy of the generations of UD alumni who filled campus,” said Mari-Carmen Farmer. “The football game was probably the highlight of the weekend, allowing us to fully experience the collective spirit and passion that UD families feel for this school.”

Visit the Parents and Family Weekend website in spring 2014 for updates on UD’s next event.

For information about the Division of Student Life, visit the website.

Article by Matthew Bittle

Photos by Kevin Quinlan and Evan Krape

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