Parents make a weekend of it

first_imgWith Cambridge in autumn’s full embrace, the families of Harvard first-year undergraduates flocked to campus for the annual Freshman Parents Weekend, Nov. 7-8.The weekend featured activities designed to give parents a glimpse of the Harvard College experience. For most parents, this was the first time they’d been back to Harvard since dropping off their teens for the start of the academic year.“Our daughter was happy to see us, which made us happy,” said Segun Abegunrin.Abegunrin made the trip east with his wife, Desireia, from their home in Los Angeles to visit their daughter, Simone.“It’s wonderful to meet the roommates and the friends you have heard so much about over the past few months, and to meet their parents too,” Abegunrin added.In the past 10 weeks, freshmen have met and gotten to know their roommates, shopped for classes, and signed up for extracurricular activities; they are now getting through midterm exams.Approximately 2,000 family members participated in Freshman Parents Weekend, taking advantage of the opportunity to attend faculty presentations, tour the libraries and museums, and even sit in on classes.On Friday afternoon, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay Harris led a discussion on the liberal arts and academic integrity, which are critical to the College’s mission of providing an “intellectual transformation.”“Knowing how to think, knowing how to analyze across disciplines, and to be able to recognize there are different ways of seeing the world and to do so with ethical decency and generosity — all of these are central elements of a liberal arts education,” said Harris, who is also the Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies. “Self-consciously, a liberal arts education and the program in General Education are designed to help students get ready for the lives they will live after college. And we do that by asking them to engage in specific areas of inquiry … to really be able to appreciate the complexity of the world in which they live, which is necessary for our future citizens and citizen leaders.”Though the Class of 2018 is a long way from graduation, Harris did tell parents not to worry about their son or daughter getting a job after college.Jay Harris, dean of undergraduate education, speaks to parents of freshmen about the liberal arts curriculum at Harvard College. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer“One of the things we hope you will take on as our partners in the education of your students is urging them to pursue their academic interests and pursue their academic love. All the studies show us that parents have anxiety about jobs and the economy, but don’t worry, they all get jobs,” Harris said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. “They get jobs in every sector of the economy whether they concentrate in English or physics or economics. So, please, encourage them to pursue things they are passionate about.”Later in the day, parents gathered in Sanders Theatre for a welcome from President Drew Faust and Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana. Faust highlighted themes from her recent “The Case for College” speech, which she delivered recently at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. She told parents she wanted to emphasize the benefits that college provides because she has seen how it has “changed lives.”“College is one of the best, and one of the few chances that many of us will ever have to just follow our curiosity; to take a course in art or literature or genetics,” she told parents. “Encourage your child to use this extraordinary opportunity to explore. College is a passport to other places, other worlds, other times.”“Our goal at Harvard is not simply to prepare students for success in the job market,” said Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana. “Our goal is to create the conditions for their intellectual and social transformation, to ignite in them a sense of imagination and a vision for the future, to prepare them to be the citizens and citizen leaders for our global society.” Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerDuring Freshman Convocation at the start of the year, Khurana challenged the Class of 2018 to make their college experience “transformational” rather than simply “transactional.” Before their parents this weekend, Khurana emphasized how the transformational experience is at the heart of the College’s mission.“Our goal at Harvard is not simply to prepare students for success in the job market. Our goal is to create the conditions for their intellectual and social transformation, to ignite in them a sense of imagination and a vision for the future, to prepare them to be the citizens and citizen leaders for our global society,” he said. “We all worry about our children; the decision to have children is the decision to wear your heart on the outside of your body. This first year away at college brings new anxieties, but I don’t want you to feel anxious. We have confidence in your children, and as you encourage them to seek transformation, we are honored to play our part and guide them through this next chapter in their lives.”After the president’s and deans’ remarks, Harvard’s improvisation group, the Immediate Gratification Players, performed several improvised skits to add humor to some real-life college situations, including dealing with roommates, getting a bad grade, coming home for winter break, and the late-night phone call to home.The skits resonated with the audience; parents laughed at the familiar scenes. Dean of Freshmen Thomas Dingman then hosted a panel of College administrators who discussed the themes of the skits.last_img read more

Badgers overcome early miscues, take down Boilermakers

first_imgUW cornerback Antonio Fenelus had an interception return for a touchdown as part of Wisconsin\’s 28-3 second half against Purdue.[/media-credit]WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Early on, it wasn’t pretty. But then again, that’s why they play four quarters.After a sloppy, sluggish first half, the Wisconsin Badgers (8-1, 4-1) recovered to take down the Purdue Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3) 34-13 Saturday afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium behind a strong defensive effort and two touchdowns from running back Montee Ball.Despite an interception on a poorly thrown ball by quarterback Scott Tolzien on the Badgers’ first drive and a missed 40-yard field goal by kicker Phillip Welch on the next, Wisconsin, now ranked No.7 in the BCS standings, trailed only 10-6 at halftime. Purdue, meanwhile, took advantage late in the first quarter with a 23-yard scoring pass from quarterback Sean Robinson to receiver Antavian Edison. Robinson, a true freshman, made his first career start after starting quarterback Robert Marve was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Boilermakers were also without starting running back Ralph Bolden and All-Big Ten receiver Kevin Smith, both also out for the season with knee injuries.Once Welch connected from 44 yards out with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter, UW finally got on the board. Seven minutes later at the 1:00 mark, Purdue’s Carson Wiggs nailed a 37-yarder to put Purdue up 10-3. Yet, with all three of their timeouts remaining, the Badgers were able to drive 57 yards on seven plays and Welch hit a 38-yard field goal to end the half 10-6 in Purdue’s favor.“Obviously, a tale of two different halves,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “In the first half, we just weren’t characteristic of what we’ve been doing to have success. We came in at halftime, didn’t need any superhuman effort, just wanted guys to focus in on the details of playing winning football.”The Badgers seemingly calmed down during the halftime break, emerging a different team in the second half. On the first drive, Culmer St. Jean baited Robinson and intercepted a pass on third and five from PU’s 25. The Badgers’ middle linebacker took it to the 18, where a few plays later – after a fourth and one conversion – Tolzien found receiver Jared Abbrederis for a seven-yard touchdown reception. Wisconsin went up 13-10, and never looked back.With their defense finally getting solid pressure on Robinson, the Badgers forced a three-and-out on the next two drives. Then, after Tolzien found receiver Nick Toon streaking across the middle of the field for a 20-yard completion at the Purdue 31, running back Montee Ball took advantage of excellent blocking down the left side of the field for a 31-yard Wisconsin touchdown, which made the score 20-10. Starting running back John Clay ran the ball 12 times for 45 yards, but sat out most of the second half with a knee injury.“I knew Montee could step up, and he did a great job,” Clay said, adding that he has no doubts about playing next Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers. “So, I told the coaches, just run it with him.”Ball finished with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, while Tolzien threw for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 13 for 19 passing. Wisconsin’s offense was able to take advantage of much-improved play by their offensive line, which looked fairly out of sync in the first half.“Us [running] backs, when you come here, the team’s going to put the load on your shoulders and you’ve got to be able to carry it” Ball said. “That’s what I feel like I did. The line did a great job of pushing them, and I just didn’t want to let them down.”After Purdue converted another field goal, this one from 35 yards, the score tightened at 20-13. The Badgers only managed one first down on their next drive before punting, and the Boilermakers looked to be driving before Mike Taylor picked off a deflected pass. The sophomore linebacker, playing without the knee brace he sported at Iowa, returned the ball 26 yards to the Purdue 14.From there, Ball scored from 15 yards out two plays later, and Wisconsin was up 27-13. Robinson began the next drive with an incompletion, and on second down with 8:54 remaining in the game, his pass was tipped once again and UW cornerback Antonio Fenelus intercepted and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. That was the final score of the game, as the two teams traded possessions to end the game.“Antonio has really played good football for us,” Bielema said. “Him and Niles [Brinkley], as long as I’ve been the head coach, those guys are playing pretty good. They can go one side or the other. …These guys have been pretty balanced.”Both teams finished with 303 total yards, and Purdue actually possessed the ball for 30:56, slightly longer than Wisconsin’s 29:04. Yet, as it was the Badgers’ miscues that put them behind in the first half, it was the Boilermakers’ second half mistakes that ultimately lost them the game.“The guys never quit,” left guard John Moffitt said. “The guys fight to the end, and that’s what you need because the game’s not over until the last second ticks off the clock. I think guys understand that, which is really important.”last_img read more