Parent of the Year award winner Sahra Mahbuub and daughter Fadumo Abdullahi with family.

About 1,100 family members participated in the 10th annual Cardinal Family Weekend Oct. 21-23.

Cardinal Family Weekend is a series of events, both at UofL and in the Louisville community, that allows parents and families to reconnect with their student, and for students to share their favorite campus activities with their families.

This year’s events included: the Homecoming Parade, Corn Island Storytelling Festival, Parent Family Tailgate & Cardinal Football game, Sunday Brunch at The Ville Grill and much more. Attendance was a record this year with almost 1,100 tickets sold to the game for families and nearly 600 family members attending the pre-game tailgate.

“Attending Family Weekend provides a wonderful chance for parents and families to spend quality time with their student,” said Glenn Gittings, director of special programs and the Parent Association. “Not only does it strengthen the parent/student relationship, it can also provide their student with the opportunity to bridge the gap between their lives both on and away from campus.”

The Parent of the Year Award ceremony is also held during Cardinal Family Weekend. Now in its ninth year, the award allows students to recognize their parents for the help and support they’ve given throughout the students’ lives.

This year’s Parent of the Year Award winner was Sahra Mahbuub, mother of freshman Fadumo Abdullahi. Fadumo’s letter was chosen among 65 nominations, a record number of submissions.

Sahra took home a large plaque and a copy of Fadumo’s nomination letter.

Here’s an excerpt:

“My family is from Somalia but the country I call home is one that I have never seen. My mother walked more than 800 miles in the shadow of deaths and dead bodies lying around to get my older siblings to safety. My family relocated in Ethiopia and that is where I was born. My family’s journey to the United States begun when my younger sister got very sick with a heart condition and my mother took her to every available health practitioner of traditional and modern medicine. With her critical condition, my sister was able to receive the surgery she needed here in Louisville Kentucky and my family once again relocated in the U.S. 

My mother is the pillar of our family. No amount of success in my life or any other of my sibling would have been possible without her encouragement and unconditional support. My mother never had an opportunity for education but her strong faith, optimistic view of the world and willingness to help others have inspired me to be a hardworking student, and strong advocate for justice. My mother gave me a firm and strong foundation of right versus. wrong; and most importantly, instilled in me the right morals and values. She drove me to community services, filled out applications and stayed up with me late night to finish up homework. She sat in the front rows of community events listening intently to my speeches. 

My mother is very patient and selfless, the kind of patience that having 10 children and 2 grandchildren forces one to have. My family refer to my mother as the “911 of the family” she is always there for everyone. In addition to being there for 12 children my mother is plays an active role in her community. She helps wide diverse of refugee families with setting their apartments and doing grocery shopping before and after they arrive. She has encouraged each and every one of her children to be immersed and our community and make a difference in any way we can. 

Despite hard and difficult times, my mother has provided me and my siblings with the basic and essential education. She emphasized for me to recognize that our situation is just a phase of hardship and not my destiny and that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. Her advice and encouragement paid off as I can humbly call myself Healing Ambassador for the City of Louisville, a Woodford R. Porter Scholar, a National Beta Club Scholar, a Gates Millennium Scholar, a representative of the legacy of Muhammad Ali and most importantly a freshman at the University of Louisville. These accomplishments would not be possible for me without the profound support and encouragement I received from my mother. 

My mother has easily surpassed the role that many mothers play in their children’s life. My mother has not only been there for her every single one of her children but she has also been there for anyone who ever needed her without expecting anything. My mother leads by example and her hardworking, and determination to make a difference in the lives of others gave me a sense of purpose and guidelines to change and impact my community 

My mother truly lived up to one of my favorite quotes of all time. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth by Muhammad Ali.”

Photos from Cardinal Family weekend are available online