University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

USC Hosts 4,000 People for Trojan Family Weekend

By Diane Ver Steeg Anderson Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sophomore Aarti Chandorkar (center) with parents Aru and Vibhas ChandorkarPhoto by Nathan CarterSophomore Aarti Chandorkar (center) with parents Aru and Vibhas Chandorkar

Close to 4,000 parents arrived on the USC campus for Trojan Family Weekend and joined a sell-out crowd to see USC defeat Colorado.

The Trojan Marching Band dedicated its halftime show to Trojan families and spelled out ‘Welcome Parents,’ which came as a surprise to Beth Saul, assistant dean of Student Affairs and director for Parent Programs and Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development.

“We weren’t expecting that. It was fantastic,” said Saul.

The number of attendees has more than doubled since the Office of Parent Programs began planning the annual event in 2004. The number of programs offered as well as the people, departments, divisions and organizations involved have also grown dramatically.

“The goal is to connect Trojan parents to the university,” said Saul. “The parents have a wonderful visit with their student, meet friends and roommates, learn more about USC and the programs their student can engage in, and feel the Trojan Family spirit.”

From workshops, tours and lectures, to health screenings, dance classes and concerts, Trojan Family Weekend not only offered something for everyone attending, but also provided parents, siblings, grandparents and friends an opportunity to share in their students’ USC experience.

“We met Richard Fliegel, the assistant dean at our son’s college, who sat down at the parents breakfast and talked to us for a long time,” said John Stanley, who came with his wife Kath from Gladstone, Mo., to visit their son Tom, a freshman economics major.

Greg and Sheryl Goldman from San Mateo, Calif., were eager to attend class with their son Maxwell, a sophomore music industry major. “We are going to his favorite class about the music industry to hear from guest speaker Glen Ballard, a music producer our son is really excited about,” said Greg.

Attending for the third time, Christina Wyrick from Long Beach, Calif., was excited to come back with daughter Aliyah Adullah, a junior majoring in public relations. “The event is wonderful and very welcoming to parents,” she said. “We can share in the experience of campus life, class with our students, lectures and breakfast. Everything is done so well. I look forward to it every year.”

With “Connecting Trojan Families” as the theme, the weekend officially kicked off on Thursday. Quarterback Matt Barkley’s parents, Les and Bev, discussed their parenting philosophy at a Parents Council meeting and four faculty members were honored at the annual Steven B. Sample Teaching and Mentoring Awards presentation and reception. Winning awards were: Karla Heidelberg, assistant professor of marine and environmental biology; Kristy Morrell, assistant professor of practice (French horn); and William McClure, professor of neurobiology. Miranda Barone, assistant professor of psychology, received an honorable mention.

On Friday morning Gary Tuchman, CNN national correspondent and father of two USC students, spoke to families about his experiences as a journalist and gave a behind-the-scenes look at covering a variety of news stories from elections to disasters.

President C. L. Max Nikias delivered an inspirational address on Friday afternoon to a packed crowd at Bovard Auditorium. “Having served as a professor, dean, provost and now as president of USC, I have been guided first and foremost by my perspective as a parent,” said Nikias, whose oldest daughter Georgiana graduated from the USC Gould School of Law and younger daughter Maria received her bachelor’s degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “The Trojan Family, of which you are all now a part, is dedicated to supporting the mission and ideals of USC – a commitment to service, leadership and excellence.”

Deans’ receptions followed the president’s speech, and schools featured top speakers covering a variety of topics from “Building Globally Creative Leaders” to “Improv and Theatre Games.”

Athletic Director Pat Haden discussed sports, alumnus Kevin Bartel talked about the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss,” career strategist Susan Brenner addressed “Reentering the Workforce” and former USC quarterback Shane Foley talked about his football blog “The Foley Report.”

Younger siblings (ages 10-17) got a taste of all the fun things on campus at Junior Trojan SCamp and families got a glimpse of students’ entertainment abilities at “SC’s Got Talent.”

Throughout the weekend, parents visited the Family Welcome Tent in Herklotz Plaza on Childs Way, featuring student singing and dancing groups and a student showcase hosted by the Stevens Center for Innovation. They also got the opportunity to get their pictures taken with band members and spirit leaders at the photo booth.

Aru and Vibhas Chandorkar from Redmond, Wash., had their picture taken next to the Tommy Trojan statue and were excited to attend the football game with their daughter Aarti, an undeclared sophomore.

“We purchased a lot of gear,” said Aru. “We have to be dressed in cardinal and gold to show our support.”

Parents and families were treated to a 50-6 victory over Colorado in a football game that also featured record-breaking performances by quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods. Barkley threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns and set USC’s new career mark for touchdown passes. Woods set a single-game school record for touchdown catches, and topped USC’s career receptions list with his 217th catch.

Ken Seitz from Golden, Colo., summed up the whole experience while breakfasting with other parents from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. His sophomore son Michael, is an electrical engineering major. “The highlight is spending time with my son,” he said. “That is really what it’s all about.”

For more information, contact the Office for Parent Programs at (213) 740-2080 or visit

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