Parents of undergraduates were invited for the first time to sit in on regular classes this Family Weekend, enabling them to see first-hand the rigor that defines their own children's academic experience at MIT.
The fifth annual Family Weekend was held Friday and Saturday, October 15 and 16. Sponsored by the Parents Program of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae, the event which draws community-wide cooperation offers families the opportunity to view campus life when it is in full swing. Approximately 500 families attended lectures, open houses, tours and concerts. Every department and many centers and administrative offices offered programs.
Open classes was the newest feature of Family Weekend. Parents commented that they particularly liked attending but admitte that some of the material in the classes went over their heads and that it renewed their appreciation for their own children's academic talents.
Woodie Flowers, School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation and professor of mechanical engineering, gave a slide/talk lightened with humor and titled "Technophobia," which seriously urged parents to fight prevailing negative attitudes and embrace efforts in their own communities to develop and encourage technology education.
President Charles and Mrs. Vest greeted parents Saturday morning at the annual convocation for parents in Kresge Auditorium and joined them for the picnic in Rockwell Cage.
Physics Professor Walter Lewin returned to Family Weekend this year with his presentation, "The Beauty and Wonders of Learning," in which he physically created a rainbow to illustrate the nature of color and light.
The Economics Department probed key Clinton administration initiatives in talks on the economic reform plan (by Professor Rudiger Dornbusch) and the proposed national health care reform plan (by Professor Jonathon Gruber).
But the weekend was not all work. Parents picnicked, watched MIT soccer and tennis, took in LSC films, joined students in their living groups and, for some, took a special bus to Milton to catch the MIT foolball team take on rival Curry College. Saturday evening they were entertained by the MIT Brass Ensemble, Concert Band and Festival Jazz Band, and by the A Cappella song fest, which featured the Muses, Chorallaries, Logarhythms and Cross Products.
Maryglenn Vincens, Alumni Activities Program Director
A version of this article appeared in the October 27, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 11).