Campus Life

Celebrating 100 Years Of Family Weekend At Texas A&M

What began after World War I as a campus Mother’s Day celebration has grown into a weekend dedicated to Aggie families. This year's Family Weekend is set for April 12-14.
By Kim White, Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs March 20, 2019

Texas A&M Parents Day circa 1960.
Texas A&M Parents Day in 1960.

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Cushing Memorial Library & Archives

 

This spring, Texas A&M University will celebrate 100 years of a weekend honoring Aggie families.

Family Weekend is a special time dedicated to Aggie parents and family members and gives students an opportunity to express their gratitude to those who have impacted their lives. While the event has held several different names over the past century – Mother’s Day, Open House and Parents’ Weekend to name a few – the sentiment it represents remains the same.

“Family Weekend has always been about welcoming and appreciating our loved ones and support networks,” said Libby Daggers, student affairs coordinator in the Office of New Student & Family Programs, which manages the event. “This centennial year is an amazing opportunity to not only celebrate our Aggie family, but also honor the history of Family Weekend while establishing its future legacy for another 100 years to come.”

The tradition began in 1919 shortly after the end of World War I. Membership in the Corps of Cadets was mandatory, and mothers often found themselves worrying about the welfare of their sons. President Woodrow Wilson had recently issued an official proclamation establishing a national Mother’s Day holiday, and Family Weekend originated as a recognition of the holiday on campus. Corps flower pinning, military reviews, chapel services, campus tours and outfit award presentations have been staples of the weekend since early on. When the university moved graduation ceremonies to early May in 1971, Parents’ Weekend was moved to April as a result, where it has remained.

In 1956, the first Mother of the Year Maria V. Reyes was selected and honored in conjunction with Mother’s Day weekend. The selection of a Mother of the Year continued annually until 1974 when the award was changed to Parents of the Year to allow additional deserving family members to be honored. This tradition continues today with Parents of the Year beginning their one-year tenure during Family Weekend festivities.

Mother's Day at Texas A&M in 1928.
Mother’s Day at Texas A&M in 1928.

Photo courtesy of James E. Hudson III .

 

After 1965, when membership in the Corps became voluntary, new activities were continually added over the years to include a wider variety of students. Some of these new activities included the Bevo Burn Barbecue competition, Memorial Student Center (MSC) Variety Show, and Residential Housing Association (RHA) Casino.

This year’s Family Weekend will take place April 12-14 and will include events such as Aggie Ring Day, Aggie Mom’s Boutique, Yell Practice, Family Weekend Tailgate and multiple athletic events, including the Maroon and White football game.

While the Maroon and White game is now a much anticipated Family Weekend event, the game first appeared on the schedule only as recently as 1982. This exhibition game began as a charity event in 1941 and, over the decades, involved intramural student athletes, former varsity players, including Heisman winner John David Crow, and current Aggie players and coaches.

Under the supervision of New Student & Family Programs, Family Weekend is planned and coordinated by the Aggie Family Ambassadors student organization. Katherine Wierzbicki ‘19, a lead ambassador, said Family Weekend has always been a true welcome to Aggieland for the families of Texas A&M students, and helping with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of this tradition is a unique and exciting honor.

The Centennial Celebration will be held April 13 from 7-10 p.m. and will feature a curated display of artifacts and memories, special guest speakers, live music, dessert and a photo booth.

Tickets to attend the Centennial Celebration are on sale now at tx.ag/CentennialTix. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Family Weekend Endowed Fund and help support this tradition for the next 100 years and beyond.

Those interested in giving back to support the future of Family Weekend at Texas A&M are invited to contribute to the $100 for 100 Years campaign. Gifts of $100 are encouraged, but any amount is welcome and can be made online at tx.ag/100for100.

Media contact: Kim White, Texas A&M Division of Student Affairs, 979-845-5826, kimw@studentlife.tamu.edu.

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