Record attendance at annual Parent and Family Weekend

Nearly 700 family members of Biola students came to campus last weekend to visit and experience college life.



After speaking at the Saturday morning brunch on Metzger lawn, President Corey talks with freshman Amy Gerlach, and her father, David Gerlach. More than 200 families vistited Biola’s campus during this year’s Parent and Family Weekend. KATIE JURANEK/ The Chimes

Michelle Orgill, Writer

Flying and driving from near and far, families of Biola students arrived on campus last weekend to get some much needed one-on-one time with their sons, daughters and siblings.

“We had 260 families represented, with 680 parents and family members visiting,” said Colleen Heykoop, director of Parent Relations at Biola. “Attendance for this weekend passed all previous records.”

Heykoop said there are a number of reasons for planning a Parent and Family Weekend at Biola.

“Among them are building goodwill and helping alleviate homesickness,” she said. “Last year we renamed the event ‘Parent and Family Weekend’ because we wanted to incorporate activities for younger family members. This allows for younger siblings to experience university life, with the hope that they would consider Biola as an option for themselves in the future.”

Families enjoy seeing their students at college

During Parent and Family Weekend, families were able to enter into the world of Biola students by visiting classes, sleeping in dorms and participating in weekend activities.

“My mom flew all the way down from Spokane, Washington,” said freshman Heather Weitz. “I really liked how there was this time set apart specifically for parents. It was so fun to show my mom who my friends were and where I fit in at Biola so I can talk to her about college when she’s back home and she will have that connection. That was really helpful.”

Others did not have to come so far.

“Although we live close, it was awesome to see Matthew interacting in his college environment now as an upperclassman,” said Debbie Okada about her junior son, Matthew Okada. “It is obvious to me that this is where he belongs.”

“The campus is beautiful and I can’t wait to come here,” said Megan Okada, Matthew’s 16-year-old sister. “It was good to see Matthew, but his room still stinks.”

Friday events integrate families into Biola life

After registration on Friday, families were given the chance to visit their students’ classes and meet professors during the day. Chapel took place in the morning, as well as the opportunity to visit students’ dorms and meet the resident staff who work daily to provide a positive living and learning experience for students. Campus tours also took place throughout the day.

Lunch was provided on Metzger lawn and entertainment included live music and sibling games provided by Biola Youth. After lunch, The Torrey Honors Institute led a Torrey-style conversation about the Declaration of Independence. Professors John Mark Reynolds, Paul Spears and Fred Sanders discussed how Americans revere the Declaration of Independence, yet many are unaware of the beliefs and ideas expressed in this historic document.

The Torrey Honors Institute’s annual convocation welcomed new Torrey students. Right after, families settled down for a “drive-in” movie in which families were invited to go watch a family movie complete with free popcorn and beverages.

Saturday highlights: volleyball game, Talbot project and PRISM concert

Saturday, families were able to see intramural sports games and witness Biola’s women’s volleyball team beat Point Loma Nazarene University in Chase Gym.

The Board of Trustees gave a guided tour of the new Talbot project. After lunch with President Barry Corey on the lawn, Associated Students put on a service project called “Serve Day,” which students and parents were encouraged to participate in. The Conservatory of Music’s annual PRISM Concert at Crowell Hall was also held during Parent and Family Weekend with matinee and evening performances.

“It was really great seeing my parents and having them hear me sing the songs that I have been practicing at our very first concert this year,” said sophomore vocal performance major, Morgan Schultz.

“The thing that was so neat was not only hearing the chorale which Morgan is a part of, but to hear selections from all the different groups that make up Biola’s Conservatory of Music,” said Michelle Schultz, Morgan’s mother. “We had never attended this concert at Biola before.”

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