This weekend was Hong Xian’s second time at Yale.

Four years ago, the mother from mainland China dropped her son, Alex Yang ’16, at his freshman dormitory in Lanman-Wright Hall. Beaming with excitement, she sat Monday morning on Old Campus to witness Yang’s graduation.

Xian was one of the thousands of family members who traveled to attend Yale’s 315th Commencement this past weekend. Holding flowers, balloons and cameras, the families came from all across the world — some from as close as a few blocks away in New Haven, some from the other side of the globe. Some family members have visited the campus multiple times, but many set foot in the Elm City for the first time this weekend.

Ben Jones and Mary Jones travelled from Santa Monica, California to watch their daughter Micah Jones ’16 graduate. The two praised the “neat” structure of Commencement weekend. In particular, Mary Jones said she enjoyed the graduation celebration held for black students.

“It’s heartening to see students from Africa, and African-American students all gather in one space celebrating our culture and heritage,” she said.

Ben Jones said it is great that the three major events — the Baccalaureate address, Class Day and Commencement — are spread over three days and not jammed into a single day. In addition, he praised the combination of University-wide, large-scale ceremonies and intimate, small-scale events held at each residential college.

Even families who had been to Yale many times before praised the tone of the weekend’s events.

Nitin Samarth, father of Avinash Samarth LAW ’16, said that although he has travelled to Yale from Pennsylvania several times, he was overwhelmed by the celebration and atmosphere over Commencement weekend.

Barbara Binney, aunt of Lisa Strouss ’16, came to Yale from Virginia for the first time this weekend. Binney, who lived in a Yale dorm this past weekend, spoke fondly of Yale’s architecture.

“[The class of 2016] has achieved a lot. Now it is time for them to go out to the world, pursue their career dreams and make a difference,” Binney said. “Remember to enjoy life.”