Opinion | Appreciate Moms Weekend’s deep-rooted history

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Today, the University is known for its top-notch higher education, Big Ten sports, hundreds of RSOs and most of all, one of the best venues for this stepping stone in our lives: college.

One of the more memorable and highly attended events of the school year is Moms Weekend, in which mothers and fathers of students visit campus to explore and spend time with their children. However, it didn’t appear out of nowhere like an overnight teen pop sensation.

Throughout the past few years, I have immersed myself in all aspects of University history. Not only have I learned how modern-day campus came to be or what countless alumni have accomplished, but I’ve discovered many other areas of information, too. This includes the history of campus buildings and student activities through the years and Illini sports.

One aspect I didn’t think to learn the history of was Moms Weekend. I knew it played a major role in University history, but it just never came to mind until now. I should’ve realized this sooner. Nevertheless, like the University itself, it too has a rich history and should be appreciated among the Illinois community.

According to the University Archives, the University opened in 1867 and began instruction a year later as an all-male school. At the time, women were not thought of as qualified to attend higher education. In 1870, the University Board of Trustees allowed women to attend the institution, but they were greatly outnumbered and weren’t as highly regarded as men.

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This lasted until 1903 when the state of Illinois appropriated $80,000 to build a Women’s Building on campus, known today as the English Building. In 1921, the newly created Dads Association began the tradition of Dads Day, soon followed by the first Moms Day the next semester, exactly a century ago.

Both occasions grew into weekends respectively. Over the years, students and parents have taken part in a whole slew of activities.

For students and their fathers, they spend their fall weekend attending an Illinois football game, one of the first season games for Illinois basketball and other similar events. For students and their mothers, they spend their spring weekend together attending live concerts, pageants for the occasion and other similar activities like stage performances and craft fairs.

Whatever you plan to do with your mother for this year’s Moms Weekend, take a moment and appreciate its history. No tradition comes without a story, and this one is just as rich as University history.

I wish you nothing but the best for your Moms Weekend. Mothers are some of the greatest people in our lives; they deserve a relaxing weekend full of campus activities, delicious Champaign food and a whole lot of orange and blue.


Noah is a senior in Media.

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