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Outstanding parents recognized during Fall Family Weekend

November 4, 2013 : By Lena Wakim/Liberty University News Service

During Liberty University’s Fall Family Weekend, Nov. 1-3, families participated in a variety of events such as ice skating, an art expo, and Saturday’s Flames Football game against Virginia Military Institute. The festivities, hosted by the Parent and Family Connections Office, welcomed nearly 900 families — approximately 3,700 guests.

At Friday night’s Family Banquet, President Jerry Falwell, Jr. expressed his appreciation for the Liberty families.

“We’re so glad you chose Liberty University,” Falwell said. “We put such an emphasis on creating a family atmosphere here at Liberty. This event says a lot about what Liberty is all about. We have something very special here. Our goal is to achieve academic and athletic prominence but also to stay true to our Christian mission. We’re committed to doing that.”

Falwell highlighted some current construction projects, including the new science building and new residence halls, part of the university’s $500 million campus rebuilding project.

The Parent and Connections Office also presented the annual Outstanding Parent of the Year award to Rick and Pam Giovanetto. Their daughter, Andrea Giovanetto, submitted the nomination essay, which garnered them the award. This is the fifth year of the essay contest.

Guests were able to hear Andrea Giovanetto’s story of healing and love as she read the essay.

After being abandoned by her mother in Colombia at the age of 3, she remained an orphan until age 11, along with her older sister, Xio Mara. The two were then adopted by a childless couple in California who put them back up for adoption within nine months. Three weeks later, Rick and Pam Giovanetto of Illinois adopted them. The Giovanetto family also includes Dylan Giovanetto, a junior at Liberty.

“(In) my life before I had my parents, I questioned my value as a person and my relationship with God. After I had them in my life, I learned that I am loved by my parents and by God,” Andrea Giovanetto said. “I want to share with other people what they have done in my life.”

  • The Parent and Family Connections Office provides resources for parents of Liberty students to communicate with the university in order to support student success, promote an appropriate role for parents within the campus community, and generate goodwill for the university. The office also provides parents with information on university resources, campus events, and activities; the opportunity to interact with other Liberty families; and guidance during the transitional phase of becoming a supportive Liberty parent.