Mercer University welcomed many families to campus for the University’s three day annual Family Weekend.
“We had 220 families registered this year,” said Carrie Ingoldsby, director of Campus Life. “[That is] about 800 total people, including students. It was the largest Family Weekend attendance in recent years.”
Family Weekend gave family members the opportunity to see a variety of aspects of the University, ranging from athletic events to social events.
Many families attended the volleyball game that saw the Mercer Bears defeat Stetson University 3-1 in what was the team’s fourth straight victory. The same weekend, Mercer Volleyball was defeated by Florida Gulf Coast in a close contest, 3-2.
One player in this matchup was senior Charlayna Braxton, whose family traveled to watch her compete and participate in Family Weekend. Braxton’s grandparents, Charlotte and Fred Thompson, cheered her on to tie the fourth set that Mercer would soon after win.
“We’ve been to a lot of the volleyball games, as much as we could. We’ve enjoyed the four years and we’ve had a great time coming down here and watching her play,” said the Thompson’s.
Saturday, Family Weekend continued with a breakfast amid the faculty in the Bear Rock Café.
Students and parents had the opportunity to socialize with many of the school’s faculty, staff, as well as students who volunteered to assist with this weekend’s festivities. T-shirts commemorating the event were also available to purchase.
While some enjoyed breakfast, other students and their families were touring the Administration Building and its famous tower. Those on the tour had the opportunity to climb to the very top and see the entirety of the university grounds from the campus landmark.
The area in front of the tower, the Historic Quad, hosted a traditional barbecue lunch, provided by the Fresh Food Company. Families enjoyed helpings of pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, tea and several sweets for dessert such as brownies and chocolate chip cookies, all to the cool sounds of local jazz musicians. The lunch served as an opportunity for parental figures to meet professors or have pictures taken with Toby Bear in front of the Mercer car and the brand new orange Mercer Truck.
Parents also had a chance to interact with other families.
“My favorite part [of Family Weekend] was co-mingling with the other parents. Everyone was introducing themselves in the [Mercer] Village,” explained Mr. Thompson concerning the weekend’s events.
In addition to socializing throughout the weekend, parents and students had the unique opportunity to attend informational sessions concerning career choices and internships. For students studying engineering and science, Sigma Xi, an Engineering and Science Research Honor Society, held their induction ceremony. In the arts department, parents could enjoy a Gala Concert by the Townsend School of Music at the McCorkle Music Building.
Parents got a first look at the new football team that has been preparing for next year’s 2013 season. Tours were given of the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House, as well as the William H. Anderson II Family Field. Cheerleaders at Mercer University conducted the tours, leading families throughout the state of the art facility. Mercer Football will play an even more significant part in Family Weekend next year.
“Next year we look forward to a Family Weekend tailgate and football game,” explained Ingoldsby.
Mercer had the rock wall on the intramural fields open for families to climb and showed free movies such as “The Avengers” and “The Hunger Games”. The latter film was part of Fall Fest, a festival that featured local Macon businesses selling and giving away everything from food to koozies, as well as special discounts for parents.
“Fall Fest was a new event for all students and the community. We placed it on Family Weekend to provide a fun event for families while in Macon and to spotlight Mercer Village which is becoming more well known and popular both for Mercer students and the community,” said Ingoldsby.
The weekend ended with a worship service at Centenary United Methodist Church on Sunday morning.