UK Happenings

Time Honored Tradition Returns to UK, Welcoming Hundreds of Families to the Bluegrass

Family Weekend.
Family Weekend 2019. Disclaimer: This photo was taken prior to UK's current mask mandate.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2021) — As we welcome back traditions at UK after an unprecedented year, Family Weekend is no exception. Taking place Sept. 17 through Sept. 19, Family Weekend will welcome parents and families of University of Kentucky students to the Commonwealth, giving them the opportunity to learn more about what a fall weekend looks like on campus and meet the people and see the spaces that make up UK students’ day-to-day lives.

Hosted by the Parent and Family Association, housed in the Office for Student Success, and led by Nicki Jenkins, senior program specialist for the Parent and Family Association, Family Weekend has welcomed families from across the nation to the Bluegrass for decades. While COVID-19 has been challenging in so many ways, the silver lining has been the ability to reinvent and reintroduce in-person experiences to UK students. 

“While we had fun and successful virtual family programs throughout last year, we are particularly excited to see people in person for this year’s Family Weekend,” said Nancy Stephens, head of the New Student and Family Programs team. “The strength of this campus is really in its people, and we know those in-person connections are powerful. It is wonderful to be able to facilitate that through our programming this year, and we know our families will help make it a healthy and safe experience by abiding by our campus COVID-19 policies.”

This year’s Family Weekend is jam-packed with events. From Horse Country Tours, to the football game, to movie night, there is truly something for every member of every family.

“We encourage students and families to do what matters most to them throughout the weekend; the important part is spending quality time together,” Stephens said. “To make things easier, especially for families who aren’t as familiar with campus, the UK Parent and Family Association has coordinated a number of events throughout the weekend. No matter how families choose to spend their time, we know there is so much to do on campus and around Lexington, and we encourage them to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Kicking off Family Weekend on Friday, Sept. 17, is the Family Weekend check-in. Here, families will pick up a welcome packet that includes a clear tote bag that can be used at the game, important information about the weekend and Family Weekend T-shirts, which will be available for purchase if they have not already been pre-ordered. Additionally, families will have opportunities to win prizes, play games and mingle with other families and members of the campus community.

Saturday, the Parent and Family Association is excited to host its annual Tent Party on Pieratt Fields prior to the UK football game against University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. UK students can bring their family and enjoy a delicious cookout, inflatables, giveaways, special guest appearances and more. There will be something for Wildcat fans of all ages. 

Closing out the weekend on Sunday is the Wildcat Family Breakfast, a new event added to this year’s Family Weekend schedule. The breakfast is a great opportunity to get to know faculty and staff and other UK students and family members.

Traditions at UK, old and new, are what make us bleed blue. Family Weekend provides UK with the privilege of showing UK families why they made the right decision in choosing the university of Kentucky.

While we as a university have had our fair share of hurdles over the past year, Family Weekend is a testament to the university’s grit and determination to be the university for, and of, Kentucky. 

“UK is a special place, and we want to create opportunities for families to experience that with their students,” Stephens said. “We’re all part of the Big Blue Nation, and the Parent and Family Association staff always reminds families that they’re an important part of our campus community.”

To view the full schedule of Family Weekend activities, click here.

About the UK Parent and Family Association:

The UK Parent and Family Association welcomes, educates, and connects parents and family members of UK undergraduate students with the goal of supporting successful student transition, retention, and persistence to graduation.

The UK Parent and Family Association embraces a multidimensional concept of family and the diversity of family structures, including families of origin and families of choice. We are proud to serve parents, guardians, grandparents, spouses/partners and any other supportive people in the lives of our students. Our staff is committed to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in our work with UK students and their families.

To learn more about the UK Parent and Family Association, check out these frequently asked questionsTo join the UK Parent and Family Association, click here.

* Ticket sales have closed for the Tent Party and Wildcat Family Breakfast. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.