The history of UWL’s family weekend


Credit: UWL Campus News

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

The first documented family weekend was Nov. 7 through Nov. 8 in 1981. It was held in order to increase parent’s knowledge about the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and to inform them of what different programs the university had. There were activities listed as displays, demonstrations, special lectures, and art performances. 

While family weekend seemed to be an inconsequential event in the early 1980s, throughout the year’s family weekend has developed into a much more exciting event. Adding events such as free movie nights and a football game. 

The family run 5k run/walk and the 10k run with the Chancellor is a very popular event. Since 2007 it has been a tradition for UWL Chancellor Joe Gow to run/walk in every running event, and the tradition still holds strong today. 

“When I was elected Chancellor in 2007, my inauguration was one week before family weekend. That was a great way to start it off, because the next week I got to run in the running event,” said Gow. “We have carried that tradition on every year, and this will be the twelfth year that we do it on Saturday,”  

In 2013, the turn out for family weekend was at high numbers. Just under 500 families were already registered a week before the event, making the total visitor count more than 1,000 people, according to the UWL Campus News.  

Family weekend in 2013 was a memorable event. Not only did many people attend, but the run with the Chancellor was dedicated to the memory of Neala Frye who passed away, at age 23, earlier that year. She was in her senior year at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, where she was on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association and was the Director of Advertising, according to the La Crosse Tribune. 

Family weekend is all about making new memories and having special bonding time with your family. “I suspect that there a lot of great family lunches, dinners, and breakfasts that take place throughout the weekend,” said Gow. “I know from my own time as a college student that was something that I really cherished when my parents would visit, and we would go out and have a nice meal and talk.” 

A lot of work has been put in to this year’s family weekend. This year, comedian magician, John Cassidy will be performing on campus Saturday. 

“There is a lot of setup and communicating with the UC staff to make sure sound, lighting, and chairs are set up. We coordinate times with our comedian John Cassidy and make sure everything he needs is done,” said Mackenzie Schieble, the events coordinator for family weekend. 

This year’s family weekend is taking place on Oct. 12 through Oct. 14, and the traditional events are being held throughout the campus. All families are encouraged to attend, enjoy the events, and see what the UWL campus is all about.