Family Weekend at St. Thomas 2023

Family Weekend at St. Thomas: Tradition and Togetherness

As summer turned to fall, the University of St. Thomas community welcomed parents and other family members to campus for Family Weekend. The St. Thomas tradition, which ran from Sept. 22-24, featured activities for everyone, from movies, bowling, bingo and a cappella performances to Mass, bonfires, football and soccer games.

An a cappella group performs.
Cadenza performs in Iversen Center for Faith during Family Weekend. (Brandon Woller ’17/University of St. Thomas)

Families were able to see the Tommie football team defeat Morehead State 35-28 in the first Pioneer Football League game of the season, winning its 28th consecutive game on its home field. There was also an astronomy presentation and observatory tour.

“I’m just happy for my family to see the campus,” first-year and first-generation student Aurematu Tall said, expressing particular excitement for “All my little cousins. They’re all COVID babies so they haven’t really been out anywhere for the first time.”

Family Weekend allowed Tim Crabtree, a parent from southeast Iowa, the opportunity to form relationships in a new community. He enjoyed meeting the new friends of his son, Blake Crabtree ’25.

Tim Crabtree’s favorite part of the weekend was “getting together with other parents and enjoying the weekend (including the football game) and meeting new people.”

Family Weekend is one of the busiest weekends at the Tommie Shop. Some of the most popular items are Tommie crew sweatshirts, hats and hoodies.

Deb Warner, a Tommie shop merchandise clerk, considers Family Weekend one of the most interesting. “It’s fun when the parents come in,” Warner said. “I like to talk to them, see where they’re from, know their stories, and how many kids they have at St. Thomas.”

For Junior Ava Juma, family weekend is sentimental. As an international student from Kenya, her parents were unable to attend. “Family weekend is a little bit nostalgic for me,” she explained. “But I do have some aunts and uncles in the Twin Cities who come and support me, so I get excited to see them.”

Juma’s favorite part of the weekend is bowling because of its fun and competitive nature. Overall, she says she likes Family Weekend because “it’s a really fun experience that I think St. Thomas gives us to share.”

Reflecting on the weekend, Assistant Director of Campus Life Erin Whipkey said that she enjoyed having families on campus to spend time with their student and to see how their student has adjusted to life at St. Thomas. And her favorite Family Weekend tradition? Bingo with Gus.

Gus Davis emceeing bingo.
Gus Davis emcees bingo in the Iversen Center for Faith. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)