Thousands ‘Fall’ for Events Lineup at Family Weekend
By Lauren Brown
Photo by Riley N. Sims
From stepping through the front door at the President’s Open House on Friday to soaking up the last notes of “Excellent Is Your Name” at Sunday’s Gospel Brunch, thousands of Terp families came together for a unique Terp experience at Family Weekend. (And in between, lots of them cheered themselves hoarse at Maryland Football’s fifth straight victory.)
More than 1,500 families registered to participate in any of the two dozen or so events sponsored by Family Engagement, with an assist from units across the University of Maryland. Others eschewed organized fun and made their own, whether tailgating, eating together in a dining hall or informally touring the grounds and buildings.
“The whole reason for Family Weekend is to give families the opportunity to spend time with their students and experience the university in a special way, and for us to showcase some of the great things that are happening,” said Brian Watkins, assistant dean in the Division of Student Affairs longtime director of Family Engagement. “We want to help them really have a great weekend, and I know we did that.”
He said more schools, colleges and programs than ever before offered open houses. Religious organizations hosted service and meals, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center welcomed visitors to the musical “The Prom,” and the most adventurous families headed for the climbing wall and challenge course at the Eppley Recreation Center.
Not Your Grandma’s Bingo, featuring drag queens calling out the numbers between one-liners, drew another sellout crowd. It raised a record $14,000 for Fostering Terp Success, a campus unit that helps students who are homeless, have been in the foster care system, or lack a supportive family network.
The Terp Family Festival and Tailgate was by far the biggest event, attracting several thousands for a barbecue, live music, games, and face tattoos and handouts of bead necklaces in Maryland colors to wear to later watch the Terps thump the Indiana Hoosiers, 44-17.
Terrapin Club President Scott Weitz ’90 of Montgomery County, who with his wife was feted as the “donor of the game,” greeted dozens of parents at his giant tailgate, featuring a three-part tent topped by a giant inflatable Testudo on Lot Z. (“It’s like putting on a wedding every weekend,” he said.)
“We’ve gotten it down to a science,” said Weitz, whose daughters Taylor and Ryan are both Terps. “We get to see our kids’ friends and are at the point where the kids think it’s cool.”
Mildred Flickinger of Baltimore County said Family Weekend—including a tailgate—allowed her to meet the parents of the friends her freshman daughter, Maria Jose Flickinger, has made and to get more familiar with the campus, including a meal in Yahentamitsi dining hall.
“We had a great experience, particularly because the campus was so beautiful,” she said. “It was really delightful.”
Check out some of the scenes from the weekend's activities.
UMD President Darryll J. Pines (left) poses for a photo with the family of electrical and computer engineering major Edwin Blyden '27 (center) during the President’s Open House at University House on Friday. Sister Elizabeth, 12, is second from left, and mom Izzy and dad Ed stand at right. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)
Patti O’Furniture entertains families at Not Your Grandma’s Bingo, already a favorite at Family Weekend in just its fourth year. It delivered laughter and prizes on Friday night at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union while raising $14,000 for Fostering Terp Success. (Photo by Hong H. Huynh)
Members of the Chau family—(from left) sister Amanda, linguistics and technology and information design double major Ashley ‘25, mom Luisa and dad Wilson—engage their artistic sides while decorating ceramic Testudos at the “Paint a Terp” event at the Stamp Student Union on Saturday. (Photo by Thai Nguyen)
Ethan McKenna (center) lofts a sandbag during a game of cornhole with sister Becca McKenna ’27 (left), a journalism major from Baltimore, father Kevin McKenna and mother Cornelia McKenna during the Terp Family Festival and Tailgate on McKeldin Mall on Saturday. (Photo by Riley N. Sims)
Attendees of the Terp Family Festival and Tailgate take part in activities and a pregame lunch on McKeldin Mall on Saturday, just as the sun begins to peek through the days-long overcast sky. (Photo by Riley N. Sims)
Wide receivers Tai Felton (10) and Kaden Prather (1) celebrate a score during Maryland’s 44-17 defeat of the Indiana Hoosers at SECU Stadium on Saturday. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/Maryland Athletics)
Terp fans celebrate during the victory Saturday, which brought the Maryland football team to 5-0 for the first time since 2001. (Photo by Riley N. Sims)
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