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Parent's Weekend, Father's Weekend, and Family Weekend
So What, Exactly, Does My Daughter Do At College?

A student and her parents sit on a green awaiting the start of one of the Parents' Weekend events in 1952.Courtesy MHC Archives
A student and (assumedly) her father make their way across campus, passing a sign advertising a sophomore carnival held in honor of Father's Weekend. Courtesy MHC Archives

Parents' Weekend - In order to better acquaint parents with their daughters' college lives, Mount Holyoke decided to include a focus on parents within the existing May Day celebrations. This first focus came in 1946. Parents were invited to the pageant, activities, and morning classes. 1951 was the first actual Parents Day. There were concerts and plays, athletic demonstrations, and lectures to entertain the parents. However, as the school grew and grew, the hosting capacity of the school was diminished and for 1974's event the administration was forced to make a difficult choice. They opted to essentially cut out half of the visitors clogging Mount Holyoke's resources over this weekend; they opted to change the event to Father's Weekend.

Father's Weekend - Not much changed besides the name and the invited parent between Parents' and Father's Weekends. The weekend was still full of Mount Holyoke showcases. A new addition though soon became very popular: the Father-Daughter dance. Sometimes special events, like a sophomore carnival for students and fathers alike, were held on this weekend. In 1974, though, pressure to return to the both-parent system built up, and the college sent out a poll to best assess student desire. The poll response was clear -- people wanted parents back, 5 to 1.

Family Weekend - Now returned to invited parents and other family, Family Weekend is still not much change do the original version. Parents attended lectures, plays, and musical performances. The school hosts showcases to demonstrate the opportunities here. While it is impossible to capture a true look into college life, Family Weekend offers a glimpse.


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This page was created by Jennifer Loomer '04 and Katherine Underwood '05 in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 and kaunderw@mtholyoke.eduu