Grandparents University encourages fun and family

Patrice Scott, communications coordinator, College of Education
Harvey Rosen, Cincinnati, Ohio, and granddaughter Jessica Pierce, Cumming, Georgia, read their yearbooks that captured special moments from their Grandparents University experience. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

Two-and-a-half days came and went too quickly for a group of 15 children enrolled in Grandparents University, a program co-sponsored by the K-State College of Education and the K-State Alumni Association. 
 
The second annual program, which took place June 20-22 on K-State's Manhattan campus, offered a unique way for grandparents to spend time with grandchildren ages 8 to 12. Activities included decorating residence hall rooms, swimming, bowling, architectural and engineering feats, and creating memories with iPads.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education and creator of the program, said the goal of the program is to provide quality time for family members to share their love of K-State, while allowing the children to experience and learn about campus life.
 
Harvey Rosen, Cincinnati, Ohio, learned about the program while reading an article in the spring 2014 K-Stater magazine and enrolled in the program along with his granddaughter, Jessica Pierce, Cumming, Georgia. Rosen, who even has K-State season football tickets, said,  “This is the most fun I have ever had on campus — ever,” referring to the experience of one-on-one time with Jessica.
 
Jessica was excited about the chance to spend time with her grandfather, who has eight other grandchildren.
 
“I thought it would be a really cool opportunity to get to know my grandfather better, and once I got here, it was even better than I thought it was going to be,” Jessica said.
 
Grandparents University offers more than just fun and family bonding for attendees. It also allows K-State alumni the opportunity to show the children they bring with them what the K-State experience meant to them and why it was important. The children who attend often have their first opportunity to make a connection with K-State that could last a lifetime.
 
Judy Rayl, Manhattan, Kansas, brought grandchildren Calen and Avery Domingues, Prairie Village. Avery celebrated her 11th birthday in a most memorable way: by jumping off the high dive in the K-State Natatorium to a cheering crowd at precisely 8:47 p.m., the moment of her birth.
 
John and Jan O’Brien, Overland Park, Kansas, attended GPU with grandson Jonathan Jackson, Overland Park. 
 
“This is the best camp I’ve been to in my life,” the 9-year-old said.
 
The event concluded in the K-State Alumni Center where laughter filled the air as children and grandparents signed yearbooks and exchanged contact information. 
   
The event is open to all K-State alumni and any child between 8 and 12. Visit http://www.coe.k-state.edu/events/gpu/index.html for upcoming information about the 2015 GPU.

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