Rain or Shine, W&L’s Community Comes Together for Parents and Family Weekend The annual event brought 1,800 people to campus.
While Hurricane Ian brought rain and wind to Lexington, it did not put a damper on W&L’s 68th Annual Parents and Family Weekend, held Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2022.
Approximately 1,800 people attended the festive weekend, which was packed with events ranging from Mock Convention 2024’s sold-out panel with Former First Lady Laura Bush and First Daughter Barbara Pierce Bush and the Contact Committee hosting award-winning journalist Bob Woodward to a student choral concert featuring W&L’s University Singers, Glee Club and Cantatrici as well as riveting soccer and football games. Academic departments held open houses for students and families — with Physics Fest remaining a popular event — Summer Research Scholars presented a poster session, and the new DeLaney Center held an opening reception.
The Office of Inclusion and Engagement invited all students and their families to RSVP for a dinner featuring entertainment ahead of the weekend. This year marked the return of the event, as the last time it was held was before the pandemic in 2019. More than 300 people attended the Saturday dinner in Evans Hall and enjoyed a multicultural fashion and dance show hosted by the Student Association for International Learning (SAIL) and Across the Globe.
“Families were very happy and enjoyed experiencing a part of Washington and Lee that isn’t on display all the time,” Office of Inclusion and Engagement Senior Program Coordinator Fiorela Giraldo Prado de Lewis said.
“We spent the weekend getting to know other parents and left feeling as if we had visited with good friends we had known forever.” ~ Wimberly McPhail P’24
Many professors and student-led organizations invited parents and family members to attend classes and meetings as well.
“Parents and Family Weekend was my favorite event as a student, and now it is my favorite weekend as a parent — it might even be more fun as a parent,” Annual Fund Chair and Parents Leadership Council (PLC) Steering Committee member Josephine Covington ’96 said. Covington, along with husband Robert ’97, enjoyed spending quality time with their daughter Nell ’24 in her apartment in the third-year village, where she and her roommates hosted their parents for dinner. The couple also attended a Williams Investment Society presentation, as Nell is a director of the student-run organization. “We were very impressed, particularly with the health care group of which Nell is a part,” Covington said. “Their investments are going strong.”
New PLC Chairs Wimberly and Richard McPhail P’24 deemed the weekend a success and noted the opportunity it presents to build relationships with other parents. “Parents and Family Weekend left us filled with happiness for our son Walker and enthusiasm for W&L,” Wimberly McPhail said. “We spent the weekend getting to know other parents and left feeling as if we had visited with good friends we had known forever.”
Director of Parent Giving Ronni Gardner shared that the PLC helps build community among parents and is off to a fantastic start this year. “We had 38 PLC volunteers make welcome calls to more than 90% of the incoming class this summer, which is a record for the program” Gardner said. During Parents and Family Weekend, PLC members were active in organizing opportunities for parents to connect, which provided parents from the same geographic area a chance to get to know one another. “The PLC is dedicated to making everyone in the W&L community feel welcome and included, and that was on full display during Parents and Family Weekend.”