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Tradition running strong for 43 years

Sept. 12, 2003

By Amanda Goffinet, reporter

Students rushing around to clean up and event organizers placing finishing touches on plans can mean only one thing - Parents Weekend has arrived. As parents flood into town, they will be participating in a 43-year-old tradition.

With approximately 600 families arriving in Waco, Parents Weekend is a chance 'for parents to spend time with their children on campus,' said Kyle Richardson, chairman of the Parents Weekend Committee and a Shawnee, Okla., junior.

Richardson said Parents Weekend also is an opportunity for parents 'to get a feel for what the Baylor experience is here on campus through their students' eyes.'

Jennifer Purnell, a Dallas freshman, can appreciate this opportunity. Neither of Purnell's parents attended Baylor, so this will be the first time they have been involved in a Baylor event.

President Robert B. Sloan Jr. summed up the true purpose of Parents Weekend in a letter to Baylor parents, saying, 'This weekend will provide many occasions for you to learn what your child and other Baylor students are doing in these vital days of their university experience.'

Purnell said she feels it is important to get parents involved 'to know it's a family environment.'

Like most students, she doesn't know exactly what she will do. ' [I will] mainly just hang out with the family,' Purnell said.

As the weekend gets underway, with so many events around campus, students are sure to find something to entertain their parents. Brent Bowden, general assistant for the Parents Weekend Committee and a Garland junior, thinks the Parent-Faculty Coffee is a good event for students and parents to enjoy.

'Even if your parents don't get to come into town, it's a good time to talk to your professors outside of the classroom,' Bowden said.

Richardson said he encourages those who usually might leave for the weekend to have their parents come into town instead. He pointed out the importance of 'just getting to be on campus with your parents and see everything that is going on.'

'I know parents like it when you spend time with them,' Richardson added. 'Especially being in college, a lot of times you don't get a lot of time to do that anymore.'

From the beginning, Parents Weekend has been a product of Baylor Chamber of Commerce. Chamber is responsible for planning, preparing and executing every event from start to finish, Richardson said.

Planning begins in the middle of February and continues through the spring and summer.

According to Chamber history, Parents Weekend began in 1960 with a day-long event for Baylor parents. Years passed and by 1970 the event had evolved into Parents Weekend, complete with many of the events still held today.

This year's Parents Weekend is earlier than usual, because of changes in the football schedule. Richardson said the football schedule originally was arranged so that there would not be a home game on the following weekend, when the event would have been held. The football schedule changed, but the event was not moved.