By Victoria Valencia
Photo courtesy Daniel Cima/Georgetown Law
On September 12-13, 2014, Georgetown University Law Center held its first-ever Family Weekend.
It all began last spring, when the Admissions Office realized that in all of their events, there had been nothing yet created specifically for families. “We knew families would be interested and proud of their kids, and we wanted to include them in the community … there’s no expiration date on being proud of your kids,” said Dean of Admissions Andy Cornblatt.
After successfully integrating families into their spring events, the Office decided to plan their first Family Weekend.
Over 500 people were in attendance at the inaugural event, with families representing states from Washington to Florida. Entire families came out in support of GULC student family members, and learned more about Georgetown and what law school is all about.
“We wanted parents [and families] to hear speakers and administrators, see a Supreme Court moot, but most importantly we wanted to make them feel a part of the community,” said Cornblatt.
Included in the Family Weekend experience was a current student perspective, aimed at revealing more about the law school experience. “This helped them to understand law school and relate to their kids’ lives right now. Parents learned about how to be supportive, and got to hear about what classes kids were taking. Parents got to connect to their kids in a way they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Sarah Rutherford, Special Assistant to the Dean of Admissions.
Current student Jenadee Nanini spoke of the opportunities that Georgetown Law offers students through generous financial aid.
“It is incredible how the action of donation, big or small, can make a dream come true and make law school a reality for students who normally would not be able to attend due to their circumstances,” Nanini stated at the event.
Nanini also spoke to the heart of what Family Weekend was all about: providing a welcome environment and saying thank you to the people who helped us reach our goals. “I firmly believe that regardless of what you have achieved or where you have been, you have not gotten there without the support of others,” she stated. “Expressing gratitude and thanking those around you for all they have done is extremely important to me.”
“We wanted parents to feel the warmth of this place,” said Dean Cornblatt.
One highlight of the weekend was guest speaker Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
“One thing that was [special] about this year was that Ken Feinberg spoke on the day after September 11th. He was able to talk from personal experience and it was so timely. And for a lot of parents that particular talk was one of the most memorable from Family Weekend,” said Rutherford.
Ultimately, the weekend was a success, and provided a welcoming environment for families of GULC students.