The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Penn President Liz Magill led a fireside chat with four faculty members during Family Weekend on Oct. 27. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn held its annual Family Weekend from Oct. 27-29, which featured a range of sessions and activities for visitors. 

During the three-day event, attendees participated in events that highlighted the school’s offerings. Many of Penn’s organizations and resource hubs took advantage of the weekend as a chance to publicize their work and connect with students and parents.

Throughout the weekend, families could find an information booth open in Houston Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and an arts fair stationed on Locust Walk from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. advertising “crafts and gifts from local artists and vendors.”

According to Jerry Iaccino, a Penn parent of College first year Caitlyn Iaccino, the variety of options presented was extensive, noting the difficulty in making selections.

“Penn did a great job of providing families with a wide range of things to do,” Jerry Iaccino said. “The hardest part was choosing.”

Iaccino also mentioned that simply observing campus life provided a unique perspective on the university's dynamics.

"Just walking around campus on a school day gave us a glimpse into the heartbeat of the school,” Jerry Iaccino added, describing life on Locust Walk as “something you have to experience to really understand.”

Information panels kicked off on Friday morning with Strategies for Managing Academic Stress, an interactive session for students and families presented by the Weingarten Center and Wellness at Penn at Gutmann College House.

More information for parents followed, including an “Eat. Sleep. Penn.” presentation by directors of Residential Services and Penn Dining, a Global Opportunities presentation at Perry World House, and a Career Services meet-and-greet. Individual undergraduate schools also held information sessions on Saturday.

Parents were invited to hear directly from faculty and administration later on Friday, first at a lecture on artificial intelligence by Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick, then later during a “fireside chat” hosted by Liz Magill and faculty representatives from each of Penn’s four undergraduate schools.

Magill’s talk was a headlining feature of the weekend and attracted large numbers. “They came down to see Liz Magill speak,” College first-year Myles Bao said of his visiting relatives. “I think they really wanted to see her perspective on things."

The weekend also featured the Penn football game against Brown University and a pregame tailgate event. Aileen Iaccino, Penn parent of Caitlyn Iaccino, shared her appreciation for the historic Franklin Field and the experience of game day. 

“The history of the stadium and its traditions really made you feel like you were somewhere special,” Aileen Iaccino said. 

Penn’s religious and cultural organizations, including Penn Hillel, also hosted events such as a Shabbat Dinner and services, as well as a Bagel Brunch. The Black Family Reunion event, hosted by several Penn organizations, was also part of the weekend's cultural activities.

Performances by the Penn Symphony Orchestra and jazz musician Ulysses Owens Jr. were among the entertainment options available to families.

Family Weekend is organized by Penn’s Office of Student Affairs and Penn Parents. While events were held virtually in 2020 and 2021, Family Weekend resumed a mostly in-person format in 2022, and this year was held fully on campus. 

Several of the panels and presentations could still be livestreamed on Zoom. Larger in-person events like the Family Weekend Tailgate required advance registration, and some, like the football game and big band show, were ticketed.

“Penn and the city of Philadelphia have so much to offer,” Aileen Iaccino said. “It was great to experience this wonderful place our daughter now calls home.”