Stanford creates a taste of student life, classes included, for visiting parents

Dozens of activities are planned for the 3,600 family members expected tomorrow and Saturday during Parents' Weekend 2014.

L.A. Cicero Parents Weekend

Parents Weekend activities at Stanford begin with check-in at the Arrillaga Alumni Center.

Stanford will play host to the families of undergraduate students during Parents' Weekend 2014, offering tours, lunches in dining halls, community center receptions, a Q&A with President John Hennessy and "Back to School Classes for Parents."

Dozens of activities are planned for the 3,600 family members expected to visit campus during the highly anticipated event on Feb. 21-22. The Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center is the headquarters for the visitors, but families will be out and about all over campus for the two days of festivities that begin Friday.

Parents can choose from a variety of tours, ranging from an Outdoor Sculpture Walk to a hike through the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.  They will have an opportunity to tour Stanford Stadium and the Science and Engineering Quad. Other offerings include "Kitchen Confidential Tour: Dorm Dining Today" and a "Stanford and the 1906 Earthquake Tour."

Parents also are invited to visit some of Stanford's newest buildings, including Bing Concert Hall, the university's stunning performance venue, and the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, the largest dedicated stem cell research facility in the nation.

In addition, several campus programs will hold open houses, including the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford Red Barn (home of the equestrian team), and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

Families also are invited to take part in a Stanford tradition: hiking the Dish.

Provost John Etchemendy will welcome families on Friday morning and President Hennessy will hold his always-popular question-and-answer session on Friday afternoon.

Fathers and mothers of freshmen, of sophomores, of juniors and of seniors are invited to join their counterparts for "Conversations with Parents," and to join their students for "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 on campus, from the Bing Overseas Studies Program to Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Later that day, parents can return to the classroom – enjoying three different lectures in morning and afternoon sessions. Among the 15 topics:

  • The Art of Computing and Music
  • Demystifying MOOCS: How New Technology Will Transform Education
  • Building Smart Machines: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the Human Brain
  • Stanford's New Approach to Career Connections
  • Emotional Health and Well-Being of Stanford Students

The two-day event will end late Saturday afternoon with the annual Entertainment Extravaganza! sponsored by the Parents' Club. The event, which is held in Memorial Auditorium, a venue with 1,700 seats, sold out for the first time this year.

This year's extravaganza features performances by six student ensembles: Ballet Folklorico de Stanford (traditional Mexican dancing), Cardinal Ballet Company, Dil Se (a Hindi dance group), Kaorihiva (dances of Polynesia), Mendicants (male a cappella) and Swingtime (swing dance performance troupe).