The UR community will come together for its fifth Meliora Weekend on the weekend of Oct. 8-10, and the staff working on it is enthusiastic. “We’re just really excited about it,” junior and Meliora Weekend student co-chair Jessica Kernan-Dudley said. A lot of preparation and work have gone into it. “Student workers begin in the spring, stay all summer long, and engaged in all parts of it,” Dean for College Advancement Rebecca Fox said. “They come to meetings, they’re aware of [everything].” Director of Alumni Relations Mary-Jo Ferr emphasized the advance planning of the event. “We pretty much put the program together starting a year, a year and a half [in advance],” she said.The speakers this year will include the odd couple of political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, comedian Dennis Miller, JetBlue founder and UR alumnus David Neeleman and many others. Whenever possible, organizers feature speakers and entertainers who are alumni of UR. “When we’ve got talent and it belongs to us, in the sense of being an alumnus, we really try,” Fox said. “It’s really different.”Ferr estimated that roughly 4,300 people have registered for the event so far. “[It is] on par with last year,” she said.But Fox estimated that the actual attendance will be much higher. “We’ll probably get around 6,000,” she said. “That’s about what the campus can handle.” To the projected 1,700 who are not yet accounted for, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events Jennifer Linton had some advice – register. “They need to register and get their tickets, because online registration is going down October 5,” she said. “After that, it’s first come first serve.” Linton was very grateful to have help from the student co-chairs, Kernon-Dudley and junior Debra Orringer, and from many others at UR. “We have college staff that help staff events,” Linton said. “It’s not just people in this office.” Kernon-Dudley is optimistic about this year’s Meliora Weekend. “I think it’s going to be amazing, because we got a lot of student surveys,” she said. “We really tried this year to get a lot of [input].”One of this year’s additions is a band. Uncle Plum, a major Rochester-area band, will be playing on Friday night. “I’m really excited because something like that has never been done before,” Kernon-Dudley said.Meliora Weekend entertainment will also include a New York City-theme night in Wilson Commons with disc jockeys, free snacks and an open bar. Fox stressed that the weekend is continually improving. “We welcome opinions and observations and suggestions, we change all the time based on what we hear,” she said. “We tweak things.”Levesque can be reached at

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