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VanderHaar: Family Weekend a huge success

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 29, 2003 – Moms and dads from as far away as Wisconsin and Illinois turned out Oct. 24-25 for Union's seventh annual Family Weekend -- a chance for parents to join their students for a weekend of collegiate activities.

Mark VanderHaar, director of student programs at Union, said at least 370 people registered for the event, making it the largest in the seven year history of Family Weekend.

"Family Weekend has been growing in the past two years," he said. "Last year we had about 270 family members come, this year we had more than 370."

Gary and Vicki Thomas, from Seymour, Tenn., brought their youngest daughter Katie, 16, to visit her sister, Karie.

"We got here and spent time in her dorm room, spending time with Karie and her roommates," Gary Thomas said. "This was the first time we got to see her roommate's families since move in day two months ago."

Families kicked off the weekend with a message from Voddie Baucham at the annual Family Weekend Chapel Service. Baucham, a former football player at Rice University, is a Texas-based evangelist.

A number of workshops, from tax and investment tips to documenting family histories, were offered free of charge to parents. The workshops were led by Union's faculty and staff.

Donnie Yates, the father of freshman Cara Yates, attended a photography workshop led by Jim Veneman, Union's director of visual communications.

"I was really impressed with how much he told us about photography," said Yates, a school teacher from Cleveland, Tenn. "He gave us some practical tips and ideas on how to take better pictures. It was a great workshop."

More than 1,300 people packed into G.M. Savage Chapel for Union's seventh annual variety show, featuring a number of campus organizations performing skits and musical selections.

David S. Dockery, president of Union, delivered his annual "State of Union" address to a large gathering on Oct. 25 at the Presidential Brunch.

Afterwards, families hit the intramural fields for a variety of recreational opportunities including the potato sack race and flag football games.

Karie Thomas, a freshman at Union, said she thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her family.

"I was glad to see my family come," she said. "We had fun and I got to spend some more time with them."

By Tracie Holden

Media contact: Todd Starnes, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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