“Thank you for your children. They are remarkable people,” said President Drew Faust in welcoming the parents of the Class of 2015 (photo 1). Joining Faust in Sanders Theatre was interim Dean Donald Pfister, who encouraged the juniors to embrace the unique opportunities afforded them at the College (photo 2). Frederick Freyer ’83 (from left, photo 3) and Jaye Freyer joined their son Jake ’15 for the festivities.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Moments to seize

3 min read

A here-and-now message for students at Junior Parents Weekend

Graduation may be on the minds of some members of the Class of 2015, but as they — and their parents — were reminded this past weekend, their remaining time at Harvard College is rich with opportunity.

More than 1,300 family members visited campus Friday and Saturday for Junior Parents Weekend 2014, sponsored by the Office of Student Life. At Sanders Theatre Friday, President Drew Faust and interim Harvard College Dean Donald Pfister welcomed parents, guests, and students to the annual event.

“Juniors, you can spend your time between now and Commencement worrying about fellowship applications, job applications, and graduate school applications. You can spend the present thinking about the future, and you can leave Harvard in spirit before you leave it in body,” said Faust. “You have 454 days left in your undergraduate careers and I challenge you to use each one wisely.”

Faust also had a message for parents.

“Thank you for your children. They are remarkable people. We are grateful for the privilege of their company,” she said. “We look forward to seeing you next year to celebrate their graduation.”

Pfister, who is also the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany, joined Faust in emphasizing the importance of focusing on the here and now.

“As your thoughts start to drift to what lies in the so-called real world, remember, there are still problems sets, and papers, and finals. There is still time here at Harvard,” Pfister said. “Be sure to fully embrace House life. This is something unique, special, something you will only experience here and not again.”

The interim dean asked juniors in the audience to be sure to include downtime in their busy schedules and not to stress about what the future may hold.

“We are still working on that future, and we are working on it together,” he said.

The weekend included tours of museums and Widener Library, a 5-mile run, faculty presentations, and open-house events across campus.

Parents and guests had the chance to sit in on classes. There was a range of discussions and planning sessions, including “Excelling Beyond Harvard,” an Office of Career Services (OCS) panel that featured advisers from OCS who specialize in helping students establish career paths and apply to professional schools and other graduate programs.