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Sending Students Off in Style

A Baylor Family Tradition

It would be easy to assume that Stu (BBA '85, MBA '86) and Gina (BS '85) Solomon have their hands full with three children attending Baylor. But this dedicated couple chose to get even more involved with their alma mater by hosting Parents League send-off parties for incoming Bears and their families.

The Solomons have hosted two summer send-off parties in their D.C.-area home, complete with Texas-style fare such as barbecue, Mexican food and Dr Pepper and Blue Bell ice cream floats. When the announced appearance of Baylor President Ken Starr caused the RSVP list to swell to nearly 90 attendees at their first party, the couple was thrilled.

"We consider it a blessing to host the send-offs," Stu said. "Many parents appear a little apprehensive in sending their young adults away, especially when it's their first. We enjoy encouraging and reassuring them in this process."

The Solomons rely on the Parents League to keep them informed about what's going on at Baylor and to help pull off successful send-offs.

Director of the Parents League Judy Maggard encourages more parents like the Solomons to get involved and host send-off parties of their own. Send-off parties can be a relaxed time to give new students and their families a warm welcome to Baylor.

Judy recommends keeping the atmosphere casual and fun to put everyone at ease and encourage friendly interaction among guests. Another suggestion is to invite other, local Baylor families to participate by asking them to take care of one small task or activity to make it truly a group effort.

"Each year, our office coordinates more than 60 send-off events across the country. It would not be possible without the generous spirit of volunteerism from hundreds of parents and alumni," Maggard said. "Our office supports each event but it is truly the volunteers who make send-off parties highly successful and meaningful for everyone involved."

"We've had a blast with the send-off parties. We've met a number of great students and their parents, whom we have continued to see on occasion throughout the year," Gina said. "It's a small way for us to give back to Baylor and makes us even more appreciative of the contribution Baylor is making in the lives of our young people."

"To prepare for our send-off parties, we maintained frequent communication with the Parents League office for the current headcount and unpacked the care package they sent full of all sorts of Baylor items for the guests," Stu said. "We also chose to pick up some fun giveaways from the Baylor bookstore as prizes for icebreakers we had for the kids."

The three Solomon siblings are thriving at Baylor. Melissa is a senior music performance and music education major and is getting married to her Baylor fiancé in May. Michelle is a junior education major and member of Delta Delta Delta. Jeff, a freshman business major, will be a Welcome Week leader next year.

"We consider it a celebration as a family to be able to send them away to college," Stu said. "We've watched them mature and grow in their faith. We also celebrate their increasing independence as they learn to make wise choices and live on their own. It is encouraging to know that they are in great hands as they join the Baylor family."