Parent & Family Weekend returned to the University of Memphis with a roar on September 19-21, 2014. After a decade of absence, it was resumed because of a groundswell of interest from many supportive parents. Almost 500 registrants were joined by 220 students for a weekend full of events. One measure of the enthusiasm for the weekend can be seen by the minimal number of "no shows"-97% of those registered came to campus to join in the fun.
The goal of the Weekend was to promote the feeling of being connected to the University, to feature both on and off campus events and, of course, to have a great time. As Meta Laabs put it, "People want to feel special, included, valued and listened to - and that is something the U of M does especially well."
Many departments sponsored receptions across campus, including Recruitment and Orientation, College of Arts and Sciences, Herff College of Engineering, Veterans Resource Center, Honors Program and Disability Resources. A welcome reception provided students and parents an opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Karen Weddle-West, Interim Provost; Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, Vice President for Student Affairs; Ricky Kirby, President of the Student Government Association; and Dr. Loretta Rudd, Associate Professor of Childhood Development, who also represented her husband, President David Rudd. Other events included a scavenger hunt, a breakfast hosted by Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and, at the Liberty Bowl, a Tiger Walk, a True Blue Tailgate party and, of course, the Tiger Football game where the record breaking crowd watched our Tigers beat MTSU 36-17. In addition, adult and commuter students sponsored a picnic that was enjoyed by 75 participants at the Lambuth campus.
Parent Kindle Willis commented, "I love this university more every time I get the honor of being part of these activities." Dean of the Herff College of Engineering, Rick Sweigard, looked back on the weekend with praise for all involved. He stated, "We tell students if they enroll here they will not be a number but will be a person with a name and a face. Thank you for making that happen!" The University of Memphis Parents Facebook page had many comments conveying the sense of fun had by all. One posted, "Thank you for doing this. We had a blast!"
No University funds are used to pay for the event. We depend on modest registration fees and the assistance of sponsors like Eyewear Gallery, Pepsi, and Aramark. The hard work of more than 100 staff and faculty, under the leadership of Vice President Rosie Phillips Bingham, Meta Laabs, and Lindsey Bray, personally supported the three-day event. We owe them our thanks.
Another reason we are proud to be Tigers!
M. David Rudd, President