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Students, parents enjoy JPW

Rohan Anand | Monday, February 19, 2007

Families gathered on campus this weekend for the 56th annual Junior Parents Weekend – an event considered by many an important part of Notre Dame tradition.

The weekend kicked off with an opening gala on Friday evening, where juniors and their families enjoyed a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, portrait photography and dancing.

Junior class president Bridget Higgins’ parents drove the six-hour trip from Pittsburgh Friday morning, and she said was delighted they could be there so she could introduce them to her friends.

“At the gala, wandering around and meeting people, you get more of a view of a person’s life and their backgrounds, because sometimes you only see them in the context of school,” Higgins said.

In addition to an evening of socializing, visiting parents were also given a glimpse of the University’s academic and spiritual aspects of the University during Saturday’s program.

From 10 a.m. to noon, parents and students had the opportunity to attend workshops and lectures at the University’s four colleges.

Joe Real showed his parents the newly constructed Jordan Hall of Science, in addition to the resources available for pre-professional students like him.

“At the reception and the workshops that followed, we learned a lot about the future in medicine,” said the Philadelphia resident. “We also learned important things about entrance into medical school, relieving my parents about some of our concerns about the process.”

Immediately following were luncheons in the individual residence halls, concerts performed by student ensembles and receptions for honors groups.

A highlight of Saturday evening was the 5:30 Mass held in the Joyce Center.

University President Father John Jenkins presided, and Zahm Hall rector Father Daniel Parrish delivered the homily.

Keating said the Mass served as a great opportunity for personal reflection.

“With all of our families and friends together, we really had the chance to reflect on the blessings that we have as members of the Notre Dame community,” said Keating, who also writes news for The Observer.

Keating also addressed the class during the President’s Dinner at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse after Mass.

She said it was “incredible that nearly 3,500 parents from coast to coast had traveled in this horrible weather for this year’s JPW,” in comparison to the 120 in attendance during the inaugural event in 1952.

The weekend concluded Sunday morning with a closing brunch featuring guest speaker Lou Holtz, head Irish football coach from 1986-1996, in addition to Chandra Johnson, associate director of Campus Ministry and Kerry Carroll, JPW chairperson.

University President Em-eritus Father Theodore Hesburgh gave the benediction.

Nancy McEvily said the closing speakers made her realize how important JPW was in making her Notre Dame experience truly unique.

“During your junior year, you have a really solid group of friends and you know who’s important to you,” she said. “And this event allows your parents to meet those people who are really important to you.”