Student with grandfather and mother in Sanders Theatre.

At First-Year Family Weekend, Nick Young ’23 had his grandfather and mother with him at Sanders Theatre.

Photos by Lucy Devine ’20

Campus & Community

‘A perfect fall weekend’

3 min read

First-Year Family Weekend brings thousands of family members to Harvard

With clear skies and temperatures in the 50s, Nov. 1‒2 was “a perfect fall weekend,” noted  Harvard President Larry Bacow. And that was good news for the more than 2,500 family members who came to campus for the College’s annual First-Year Family Weekend.

“If you’re going to pick a weekend to come to Harvard, you picked the right one,” Bacow said.

Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and others traveled from near and far to share what the Class of 2023 has experienced since they arrived on move-in day. Families visited classes, attended talks, and cheered on the Crimson as Harvard played Dartmouth. Even the Yard seemed prepared for the occasion, decorating itself in bright fall leaves.

One of the highlights was staged at Sanders Theatre, “Harvard Today” and “Words of Wisdom for Parents,” where Bacow was accompanied by the Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana, faculty members, and the Immediate Gratification Players improv group.

Bacow discussed the recent Nobel Prize awards to Harvard faculty, the renovation of Lowell House, the new Harvard ArtLab, and the admissions case win that underscored that “diversity enriches the learning environment for everyone.”

Khurana welcomed families and joked that he wished he could have made it into Harvard College. A panel of faculty members responded to the improv group’s skits, which showed common interactions between new College students and their families, garnering lots of laughter from the audience.

President Larry Bacow at podium
Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana,

Harvard President Larry Bacow greeted family and friends of first-years at Sanders Theatre, while Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana shared “words of wisdom.”

Nick Young ’23, sitting in the audience with his mother and grandfather, said he was enjoying “feeling back at home and connecting my family with Harvard.” His grandfather, who made the trek from Oklahoma, agreed.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of my grandson’s journey,” he said. “It is my first trip to Boston and Harvard, and this environment is the best in the world. It is great to walk across the campus with a cup of coffee and witness humanity. It is great to see humanity happen here.”

“… I have good friends, but being with family is just a different feeling,” said Kilando Chambers ’23, as he sat between his cousins looking at a program listing the weekend of events.

Student with family members looking at a program.

On Saturday, class members and their families made a sea of “P ’23” hats, Harvard gear, and hamburgers at the tailgate at Mignone Field before the football game. “The School did a good job with all of the events, to include us and make us feel welcome,” said Avery Barakett’s behatted father.

The first-years cherished the time with loved ones as well. Kilando Chambers ’23, sandwiched between two cousins, said, “It feels great to be surrounded by family. I am not lonely here because I have good friends, but being with family is just a different feeling.”