Family Weekend Returns as UMD’s Largest Yet
Photo by Justin Derato
Not only are Terps thrilled to be back on campus this semester—their parents couldn’t stay away this weekend, either.
The full reopening of campus after the pandemic hiatus, a hotly anticipated football game and sensational weather all collided to make Family Weekend 2021 the biggest in its 41-year history. More than 2,100 families registered with the University of Maryland Office of Parent and Family Affairs to participate in three days of learning, listening, seeing and laughing together.
Brian L. Watkins, director of parent and family affairs, said the turnout was no surprise after last year’s event couldn’t be held, creating a pent-up demand for families to experience campus life with their students.
In addition, the lineup was one “you won’t find at someone else’s family weekend,” he said. “We try to do things that appeal to a broad array of people, but also have representation so folks can see themselves. Family means a lot of different things.”
Unique—and popular—activities included the 0.5K downhill “race;” the annual Gospel Brunch, featuring Southern comfort foods and the Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir; and “Not Your Grandma’s Bingo,” which—thanks in part to its host, drag queen Patti O’Furniture—raised approximately $10,000 for Fostering Terp Success, a UMD program supporting students who were or are in foster care or at risk of homelessness.
The biggest draw was the Terp Family Festival and Barbecue on McKeldin Mall, where more than 2,000 guests could spread out as they enjoyed inflatable Connect 4 with basketballs, an open-air obstacle course, face painters, caricature artists, roving balloon artists and a photo booth.
Others took their best swing at the University Golf Course, dropped by open houses at University House or schools, colleges or living-learning-programs; took campus tours; enjoyed arts and crafts, and even biked through D.C. with RecWell.
The event's theme, “Together at Last,” was reflected on this year's Family Weekend T-shirts, and for the thousand or so family members wearing them and posing for pics across campus, it was the perfect fit.
Check out some snapshots from the weekend’s activities below.
Maryland Athletics debuted a giant new video board in Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium for Friday night’s game vs. Iowa. Measuring 120 feet by 54 feet, it’s the ninth-largest collegiate display in the country and the largest in the Big Ten. “On the heels of the opening of Jones-Hill House, the investment in this video board continues to demonstrate how Maryland Athletics is leading boldly with state-of-the-art innovations to enhance the student-athlete and fan experience,” said Athletics Director Damon Evans. Here, the board hovers over the traditional unfurling of the Maryland flag over the student section. Everyone came attired for “Blackout” night and pumped for the game, but the Terps fell to the Hawkeyes, 51-14. (Photo by Zach Bland/Maryland Athletics)
President Darryll J. Pines poses with Gregory and Jeanie Jackson and their son Hunter ’23 of Elkridge, Md., at an open house for Terp families at University House on Saturday. (Photo by Justin Derato)
Eli Crow ’25 of Takoma Park, Md., plays cornhole with his father, Mike, on McKeldin Mall during the Terp Family Festival and Barbecue. The event also featured a deejay, inflatable games, caricature artists, face painting... and a visit by Testudo. (Photo by Justin Derato)
Emmanuel Barnes Jr. ’25 of Clinton, Md., relaxes with parents Katrina and Emmanuel Sr. during a glorious Saturday afternoon on McKeldin Mall. (Photo by Justin Derato)
Megan Mossman ’22 of Montgomery Village, Md., watches as her mom, Margee, has a caricature done on McKeldin Mall Saturday during the Terp Family Festival and Barbecue. (Photo by Justin Derato)
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