Parents’ Weekend opens Friday

Parents Weekend
Stanford Parents’ Weekend begins this Friday.


Stanford will welcome more than 3,500 family members to campus Friday for two days of festivities during Parents’ Weekend 2016, including tours, classes, community center receptions, dance performances and “pop-up talks” in the university’s arts district.

The highly anticipated annual event will feature the ever-popular – and final – Q&A with President John Hennessy, who is stepping down this summer after more than 15 years as president.

The Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center is the headquarters for the visitors, but families will be roaming the entire campus during the festivities, which will open with an address from Provost John Etchemendy.

This year, Stanford is encouraging the visitors to “discover” Stanford’s arts district, home of the Bing Concert Hall, Cantor Arts Center, the Anderson Collection at Stanford and the new McMurtry Building for the Department of Art & Art History, which opened last summer.

Students will give “pop-up talks” to families about current exhibits at the Cantor, including Red Horse: Drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. At the Anderson Collection at Stanford, they will discuss several key pieces or art that help tell the story of post-war contemporary American art. At the McMurtry Building, students pursuing master of fine arts degrees will discuss their work on display in the Coulter Art Gallery.

During “Conversations for Parents,” senior administrators moderate panel discussions specific to each class year – freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The visitors are invited to receptions at student community centers that are hosting a variety of activities, including a panel discussion at the LGBT Community Resources Center, a presentation on Cardinal Service by students and faculty at the Haas Center for Public Service, and food, music and performances by student groups at El Centro Chicano y Latino.

There are outdoor activities as well, including a tour of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, and a campus planning and architecture tour of the east campus, where the Meyer Library has been replaced by Meyer Green, a landscaped bowl featuring curving walkways and gentle grassy slopes surrounded by groves of eucalyptus and cedar.

On Friday evening, students, instructors and family members are invited to “A Celebration of Writing and Performance: Readings by Stanford Students and Their Parents” at the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.

Families are invited to join their students for Friday lunches and Saturday brunches in residence halls in several campus neighborhoods.

Saturday will open with a resource fair designed to help connect parents more fully to the breadth of services and programs available to students, including BEAM, Stanford Career Education, Undergraduate Advising and Research, and the Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response.

The visitors are invited to return to the classroom on Saturday for morning and afternoon lectures during “Back to School Classes for Parents.” Among the 14 classes are:

  • Art + Science: New Ways of Discovery
  • Mixed: How the Nation’s New Demographic is Upending How We Think about Race
  • Sugar-Coated Cells
  • Illuminating the Atomic Frontier: The X-ray Laser at Stanford University
  • Bridging Education, Ambition and Meaningful Work

The event will end late Saturday afternoon when the Parents’ Club of Stanford University presents “Entertainment Extravaganza!” The event will showcase six talented student ensembles: Basmati Raas (Indian folk dance), Everyday People (a cappella), Los Salseros de Stanford (salsa), Mixed Company (a cappella), Stanford Collaborative Orchestra (conductorless symphonic ensemble) and XTRM (Korean and East-Asian Pop Fusion Dance).

Parents Weekend is organized by the Office of Special Events & Protocol, a division of the Office of Public Affairs.