LC in History: Parents Weekend Traditions

Dr. Clifton W. Potter Jr., LC History Professor~

Last weekend, we all had the opportunity to take a break and enjoy our annual Parents Weekend.

This event requires a great deal of planning, and a number of people, especially Janet Cocke Sigler ‘65, deserve our special thanks for a wonderful three days. Sixty years ago, there was no Parents Weekend. Of course, parents would visit the campus and take their son or daughter and their close friends out to dinner, but there was no organized event for families except at graduation in June.

The first time my parents were on our campus was the day I received my Bachelor of Arts degree. Our current Parents Weekend dates from the administration of Dr. M. Carey Brewer ’49, who served as president from 1964 until 1983.

For me, the first event of the weekend was having the father of one of my students visit my Friday afternoon class. The parents get younger every year; in fact, I have students whose mothers and fathers were born after I started teaching at Lynchburg College back in 1965, and my first students are receiving Social Security checks every month!

I always encourage my students—especially freshmen—to make sure that they persuade their parents to take them to dinner at one of Lynchburg’s fine restaurants. Thus, they start a family tradition that will last through graduation.

Friday evening, my wife and I were part of the audience at the annual fall concert of the LC Wind Symphony and Orchestra. It deserves a column all its own, as does the LC Concert Choir Choral Concert and the LC Musical Theatre. Our campus is so very lucky to have first-class music and theatre programs.

On Saturday morning, faculty members had the chance to meet the parents of some of their students. I always look forward to seeing some of my former students who now have a son or a daughter who is now attending LC. Yesterday was no exception. I was one of the last faculty members to leave because I could not stop talking.

By the way, the miniature muffins this year were particularly good. Then there was the Phi Kappa Phi induction and the naming of the Sommerville Scholar—traditions that reach back over the student generations to the 1960s.

The excitement is done, and midterm is just around the corner. The first semester goes very quickly—but not as fast as the second one! Do not waste a moment.

As fall begins to spread its colors across the campus, stop to enjoy the beauty that is all around you. Remember we are blessed with one the loveliest academic sites in the state of Virginia—no, in the Southeast.

Last week as I was walking across campus toward Snidow Chapel, I noticed another group of parents and their high school seniors touring the campus. It was a perfect day to stand in the Circle and appreciate the vibrant academic life all around them. A year from now, some of them—hopefully all of them—will be enjoying their first Parents Weekend.