Family Weekend: Families welcomed to campus

Members of the College community dance to the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble during Family Weekend. By Stephen Salpukas.

Gina and Chris Schindler knew they could spend their weekend in Williamsburg playing golf, listening to poetry and music or watching sporting events. But one thing had priority on their schedule.

“Just seeing my daughter,” said Chris.

The Schindlers, along with their two other children, Joseph and Christine, traveled from New York to Williamsburg last Friday to visit their oldest daughter, Jennifer, and participate in the College of William and Mary’s Family Weekend.

“I just missed them so much this first month and I just wanted to show them where I’m living now, my new room, and my friends,” said Jennifer, a freshman at the College. “It’s just really nice to see everyone again.”

More than 1,000 family members registered to participate in this year’s Family Weekend. The annual event, which is sponsored by the undergraduate students and the Parents’ Association, is intended to allow families to experience a little of what life if like for students at William and Mary.

This year’s events began Friday morning, as family members were invited to attend open classes. Friday’s events also included a golf tournament, a concert, a swing dance, lantern tours of the campus, and a welcome reception in the Wren Yard hosted by College President Gene R. Nichol.

Saturday’s events included an address by Nichol to parents and family members at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, a marathon reading of epic poetry, lectures and panel discussions with faculty members, a study abroad fair, tailgating and a Tribe football game – complete with a thrilling 27-22 come-from-behind victory over conference-rival Towson University. For younger family members, a street fair offered clowns, face painting and balloons. Sunday’s main event was the 5k “Marrow-thon” to raise money for the Alan Bukzin Bone Marrow Drive.

Hinh Dinh, from McLean, Va., visited his son, freshman Hy, during the weekend. Like many parents of first-year students, Dinh said he was impressed with the progress he’s seen in his son in just one month the College.

“This is the first time I’ve seen my son since I dropped him off a month ago, this is the first time he’s been away from home for so long. He seems to be doing fine. He grew a bit bigger and more mature,” he said.

Along with attending a biology class, meeting President Nichol and going to Saturday’s football game with his son during the weekend, Dinh also had the opportunity to meet his son’s friends and see his dorm room.

“He didn’t want to show me his room, but I finally saw his room and it is as messy as mine was when I was a freshman,” said Dinh.

This will likely be the last family weekend that Greg Hryb (’73) will attend. His youngest child, Peter, will be graduating from the College in May. As he socialized with parents during Friday’s night’s reception, he said he looked forward to the weekend’s events and was already having a great time.

“I’m having a ball,” he said.

Guy and Mary Pierson, from Princeton, N.J., visited their daughter Rebecca, a junior at the College, during the weekend.

In addition to the events the weekend offered, Guy said he enjoyed just being able to walk around the campus and think about the history of the College. He said that the College has been a great fit for his daughter, who transferred from another university.

“These are the same paths that Thomas Jefferson walked on, and that’s an amazing thing,” he said. “It’s a great campus, and my daughter’s having fun here and doing well and is very active. I am proud of her to be able to do that,” he said.