Published on September 19, 2018 by Bill Nunnelley  
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Samford University families from 30 states and multiple countries enjoyed a variety of campus activities during annual Family Weekend Sept. 14-16. Several thousand family members, students, faculty and staff took part in the schedule that ranged from college classes for parents to tailgating, football and a hymn sing.

“Parent Academy continues to be a parent favorite,” said Susan Doyle, director of parent and family programs. “They appreciate getting the opportunity to experience the Samford academy for themselves, especially since this is about the only way parents can. It’s easy for them to attend an arts or athletic event, but experiencing the Samford academy for themselves is a rare treat.”

The academy offered 14 classes with 630 seats, and they were all filled, said Doyle.

Tailgating is always popular, and this year brought a record number of 1,900 parents for the Family Weekend barbecue lunch. In addition to the tailgate lunch, 12 states hosted tailgates for their states or areas, including new groups from California, Louisiana and the Midwest (led by parents from Minnesota and Wisconsin). Thousands of other tailgaters also enjoyed lunch on the Quad with campus organizations.

“We are family even though we come from so many places and walks of life,” said Doyle. “With Samford in common, Family Weekend 2018 was bigger than ever. I believe the excitement to be a testament to the great appreciation Samford families have for this place and the desire they have to engage with the university as often as they can.

“Standing on the steps of the University Center and looking out over the Quad to see it happening is absolutely overwhelming.”

The Parent Academy classes and an informal reception hosted by President and Mrs. Andrew Westmoreland in Brewer Plaza highlighted Friday afternoon, followed by a Vespers service led by the School of the Arts and A Cappella Choir.

The Samford Parents Association breakfast kicked off Saturday’s schedule, followed by open houses, tailgating, Bulldog Walk and the Samford vs. Mercer football game. Doyle said a record number registered for the breakfast, more than 650. The football game drew 8,717.

On Sunday, Samford held its annual Hymn Sing in newly refurbished Reid Chapel. Sponsored by the School of the Arts, the event featured congregational singing of hymns and gospel songs selected by audience participants.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.