West Virginia University will welcome author and parenting expert Karen Levin Coburn to the fifth annual Mountaineer Parents Club University at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 9, in the Mountainlair Gluck Theater.

About 100 club officers from around the country, plus their guests, are expected to make the trip to campus to hear Coburn speak and to participate in Parents Club University, a day-long event for parents to network and learn more about WVU and the parent-student-campus connection.

Besides many locations in West Virginia, officers are traveling from as far away as Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia to participate.

Coburn, an assistant vice chancellor for students at Washington University in St. Louis, is co-author ofLetting Go: A ParentsGuide to Understanding the College Years,which, in its fourth printing, has sold nearly 300,000 copies.

She has been a frequent guest, offering tips on helping students and parents make a smooth transition from high school to college, on national television and radio news programs. Her appearances include CNN ,Good Morning Americaand National Public Radio.

Karen was here four years ago and is back by popular demand,said Sabrina Cave, Mountaineer Parents Club director.

Other activities and speakers are planned throughout the day in the Mountainlair. Susan Hardesty, national Parents Club chair and wife of President David C. Hardesty Jr., will welcome the crowd at 9 a.m. in the Gluck Theater. President Hardesty will then speak about leadership and volunteerism.

The Parents Club University is an opportunity for club officers to spend the day on campus, network with other parents and see the many aspects of WVU life,Mrs. Hardesty said.It is also a way to say thank you to the incredible volunteers who work very hard during the year and make the Parents Club such a success.

Sessions focus on student recruitment andHot WVU Topics,and the Parents Club will stage a Summer Send-off picnic, a popular social event bringing WVU students and their families together before the start of the fall semester, complete with food and games.

DuringHot Topics,Parent Advocate Susan Lantz will host a panel discussion about student health issues. Jan Palmer, Student Health Service director, along with faculty and staff representatives from Student Life, the schools of pharmacy and dentistry, Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Office of Disability Services will serve as panelists.

In the afternoon, parents will be treated to a special performance by the College of Creative Arts in theLair Ballrooms. They are also welcome to drop by the WVU Bookstore, where they will be able to purchase collegiate wear and gifts.

The Parents Club will wrap up the day with several giveaways, including tickets to home football games, and recognition of outstanding clubs.

President Hardesty created the Mountaineer Parents Club in 1995 as one of several student life initiatives. With more than 60 local clubs and 13,000 members, the organization leads the way in family support. This fall, it will celebrate its 10 th anniversary.

The Mountaineer Parents Club serves as a valued resource for families,Cave said.It offers ways for parents to be involved on campus as well as in their hometowns.

The organization is also a way for millennial sons and daughters to stay connected to their families, she added.

The Parents Club provides student support activities and University guest speakers to connect parents with their sons and daughters. Members also work together to recruit future Mountaineers and discuss issues common to all college parents.

Other initiatives include a toll-free Parent Helpline (800-WVU-0096) answered by the parent advocate who has more than 10 years of higher education experience; a newsletter published three times a year; Parent Electronic News, an e-news service that reaches more than 9,000 Parents Club members twice a month; and a Leisure Reading Library created for faculty, staff and students.

Membership in the Parents Club is free. For more information, go tohttp://www.wvu.edu/~parents/