Stanford Parents' Weekend 2015 opens Friday

Dozens of activities are planned for the 3,800 family members who are expected to visit campus during the two-day event.

Stanford Sophomore Pranav Nanda with his parents

Stanford’s annual Parents’ Weekend brings families from long distances to visit their children and learn more about the university. Here, Pranav Nanda, center, spends time with his parents, Ashish and Shubha Nanda, of Boston. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Family members will have many opportunities to learn about and experience student life at Stanford – including lunch with their children at a residence hall –during Parents’ Weekend 2015, which opens Friday.

The two-day event features Back to School Classes for Parents, tours, activities and special events, including the ever-popular Q&A with President John Hennessy.

Dozens of activities are planned for the 3,800 family members who are expected to visit campus during the highly anticipated event, which is produced by the Office of Special Events & Protocol (OSEP), a division of the Office of Public Affairs.

The Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center is the headquarters for the visitors, but families will be roaming the entire campus during the festivities, which will open with a welcome address from Provost John Etchemendy.

Parents of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors are invited to join their counterparts for “Conversations with Parents.”

Family members can choose from a variety of tours, including an introduction to the new Anderson Collection at Stanford University, which opened last September. Docents will introduce visitors to the collection and discuss several key works that help tell the story of post-war contemporary American art.

Families also have been invited to tour some of the places where students take classes and perform research, such as the Shriram Center for Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering, which opened last June. Visitors will learn about the center’s inspiring artwork and the communal spaces that help build a collaborative culture.

The Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, located on the Stanford School of Medicine campus, will open its doors for a behind-the-scenes tour and will give visitors the opportunity to speak to some of its scientists. The Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics is giving a demonstration of its ambisonic (full-sphere surround sound) listening room.

There are outdoor activities as well, including a walk along the 3.5-mile paved loop trail of the Dish, an Outdoor Sculpture Walk, and a tour of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

In addition, several community centers will hold receptions. So will residence halls, where parents can meet resident fellows and resident assistants.

On Friday evening, students, instructors and family members are invited to “A Celebration of Writing and Performance: Readings by Stanford Students and Their Parents” at the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.

Saturday will open with a resource fair designed to help connect parents more fully to the breadth of services and programs available to students, from Vaden Health Center to the Bing Overseas Studies Program.

Richard Saller, dean of the School of Humanities & Sciences, will moderate a panel discussion on career pathways for humanities majors on Saturday morning.

Parents can attend morning and afternoon lectures during “Back to School Classes for Parents.” Among the 14 topics are:

  • The Museum as Muse: Why the Arts Matter Now More than Ever
  • Coral Reefs and Climate Change: Future Trends and How the Corals are Fighting Back
  • The Strain in Pain Lies Mainly in the Brain
  • Obstacles to Effective Counterterrorism
  • Race, Crime and Inequality

The event will end late Saturday afternoon with the annual Entertainment Extravaganza! sponsored by the Parents’ Club of Stanford.

The event will feature six talented student ensembles: Alliance Streetdance (hip hop), Cardinal Calypso (steelpan), Tap TH@T (tap dancing), Stanford Jump Rope, (high energy jump rope performance), Stanford Raagapella (all male, South Asian focus a cappella group) and Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford (mariachi band).