The band was seated to the far right of the stadium but could be heard from the other side of the field. The jockey set Racer 1 into a brisk trot as applause errupted from the stands.
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more came to Murray for a view into the lives of their loved ones at Murray State during the annual Family Weekend, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Family Weekend, an annual celebration held early in the football season, has been an ongoing University tradition designed to give loved ones an insight into life at Murray State.
Dena and Tim Muir, from Shepardsville Ky., and parents of freshman Kristen Muir, said they came to Family Weekend to see just what their daughter was experiencing at the University.
“We came to witness Murray first hand and spend time with her,” Dena said. “We also wanted to see how she was doing.”
President Randy Dunn said each of the individual components made this year’s Family Weekend a great success.
“The fact that we had so many activities going on, great attendance of parents and family members, good music, the beautiful weather, a fantastic tailgating crowd and 10,000 people who came to the ball game – all of those things combined in one event to make for a fantastic weekend,” he said.
Dunn said he was also happy with the amount of attention Family Weekend received, exceeding his expectations.
“There have been different times where we might have parts of that all going on, but we were just hitting on all cylinders for this one and it was just a joy to be involved with it,” Dunn said. “I don’t recall ever seeing the lines snaking around at the entrance windows like they had to get into Stewart Stadium.”
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, agreed this was a standout Family Weekend.
“I think it went great and was the best one we have had since I’ve been at Murray,” he said. “We had more parents here than I could ever remember and we had more events and programs than I could ever recall.”
Robertson also said the feedback he received from parents only reassured him of the University’s image during the weekend.
He said he had personally received positive feedback from parents and students’ family members.
“The comments from parents were overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “Many said they had children at multiple institutions and they have never been treated as well then how they were treated here. It’s very complimentary.”
Family Weekend also helped rest families’ concerns about their child’s decision to attend Murray State, Robertson said.
“The University came out in a positive reassuring manner to these parents and family members,” he said. “They left with a real strong feeling that this is the right place for their son or daughter, so we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Laura and Kent Hall, parents of Shelby Hall, freshman from Louisville, Ky., said they attended Family Weekend to reassure themselves of the choices their daughter made.
“Parents who send their daughter to a college that is far from home want to feel good about their choice,” Laura said. “So we sneak back a few weeks after she leaves to see if she is happy with the choice she made.”
Many of the events at Family Weekend focused on student life at the University. Some included Residential College brunches, the family picnic held on the Quad, the pre-game tailgate dinner located at the practice field and the first home football game.
Josh Harris’ parents, Pam and Phil Harris from Louisville, Ky., said they came to see how he was doing and to enjoy the events held by the University.
“We came to spend time with him and we also wanted to experience what he goes through every day,” Pam said. “We also had the joy of attending the tailgate dinner and the game, which was fun and a real good time.”
Family Weekend also gave many families and students the chance to see each other for the first time since the students left home for the University and before various school breaks.
Courtney Collins, from Sikeston, Mo., said this was the reason why she was happy to see her parents.
Said Collins: “I was very glad that they came. I missed them, so it was good to get an extra chance to see them before fall break.”