Williams played host to over 600 Eph family members for this year’s Spring Family Weekend held from April 17-19. The scene around campus was quite emotional, with scores of parents and younger siblings attending classes, walking across campus, and some venturing to sample Williams’s famed Dining Services food.
However, Family Weekend was not only an opportunity for parents to see their children, but also a chance for the College to give parents “a flavor of some of the activities and what this college thinks in terms of educating their children,” Public Affairs Director Jo Procter said.
Careful planning was made in preparation for the weekend. The date of the weekend was scheduled when it would not conflict with religious holidays, when there would be many athletic events and, most importantly, when families could take advantage of Williamstown’s beautiful spring weather.
Many family members who attended the weekend’s activities were impressed, especially with the faculty they observed during classes they attended.
Dot Plyler, grandmother of John ’99 and Alan ’01 Baldivieso said, “I love Williams. Students here are so lucky to go here and be taught by excellent faculty with great resources.” Going to class with John gave her an opportunity to see faculty members such as Professor of Biology Henry Art and Professor of Geosciences Reinhard Wobus, whom she says deserve “gold stars.”
In addition to showcasing faculty members in action, the weekend featured a various array of activities. Relatives sampled Williams life through SAC movies, an a capella concert, hikes led by members of the Outing Club, athletic contests and most notably, a chance to visit the hub of the College’s social activity, the Log.
The weekend also provided activities designed to show parents “what their money is going to,” as Proctor said. Lectures such as “Widening Horizons” and “What Your Children are Studying” gave parents the opportunity to see what a liberal arts education would offer their children. Many parents also got to meet with instructors firsthand while attending the “Faculty/Family Social Hours.”
Through such lectures and various other class visits, most parents came out with a positive impression of the school.
Neil Abelson, parent of Sam Abelson ’98, after sitting in on Professor of Political Science Alex Willingham’s Race & Politics class, said “Williams has justly earned its reputation. It attracts the best of the best with people from all ethnic groups and foreign countries. I now know why my daughter said that if we had paid for her, she’d stay here another four years.”
Other parents such as Karen Shanahan, mother of Moira Shanahan ’01, said she found the various lectures very “interesting” ones which helped reinforce her positive image of the school.
However, the weekend was exceptionally special for the parents of seniors who came up to see the campus for the last time before graduation.
Paul McGovern, father of Christie McGovern ’98, said, “We came here for Christie because it’s her senior year. It’s always wonderful to visit Williams and see students.”
Other parents of senior students, in addition to spending time with their children, were pleased to see parents of other students for a final time before graduation this spring.
Of course, the delight of Family Weekend was not just for the parents or family members, but for the faculty as well. Faculty members were finally able to meet many of their students’ families.
“It’s always so much fun to have Parents’ Weekend,” Proctor said, “because we have such great students here and we get to see part of the reason why they turned out so well. Parents can’t take all of the credit, but they certainly deserve a lot.”