May 17, 2022

Gathering in Kyle Field for a Midnight Yell Practice is a tradition usually paired with fall weather and Aggie football. Once every spring, however, students can saw Varsity’s horns off alongside their families during another Aggie tradition: Family Weekend. 

Following President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation establishing a national Mother’s Day, the Family Weekend tradition began in 1919 as a campus visit for mothers worried about the welfare of their sons, held initially during the new holiday. Today, the annual gathering invites all family members to connect with the Aggie Spirit through events ranging from entertaining performances to time-honored traditions.  

A Steadfast Sentiment 

Before becoming Family Weekend in 2017, the celebration donned many titles, including Mother's Day, Mother and Dad’s Day, Parent Appreciation and Open House. As the name changed to encompass all relatives who support Aggies, the tradition evolved to provide an equally diverse experience. But even as the scope and events of Family Weekend adapted, the mission to celebrate students and their families remained steadfast. 

Since membership in the Corps was mandatory until 1964, the earliest Family Weekend traditions developed around Military Walk and later the Quad. Ceremonies included a Corps flower pinning, military reviews, chapel services, campus tours and outfit award presentations.  

Now, 103 years later, families who travel across the country to see their students in Aggieland can participate in a schedule of events planned by the Aggie Parent & Family Ambassadors student organization. Supervised by the New Student & Family Programs office, the ambassadors are dedicated to crafting a meaningful experience for students to express their gratitude to those who have impacted their lives. “Families get to experience everything that makes Aggieland special,” said Libby Daggers, New Student & Family Programs director. “They get to experience the Aggie Spirit.”  

After current students nominate their supporters, the ambassadors evaluate the parents’ contributions to the Aggie community and ways they exemplify the Aggie core values. They select the most exceptional Aggie parents through a series of short essay questions, then present the standout candidates with the prestigious award in mid-April.  

Each year at the Maroon & White game, the outgoing Parents of the Year are honored again for their continued contributions, and the new recipients begin their tenure. Despite being an honorary title, the Parents of the Year often embrace their role, hosting social events, speaking at Aggie Moms’ Clubs, supporting the ambassadors as they work to plan the next Family Weekend and even serving as Fish Camp namesakes.