According to Director of Banquets Kristin Anderson '06, the banquets provide an opportunity for parents to visit campus, including those who travel from as far and the east or west coasts. "Parents fly in specifically for this weekend," she said.
Each banquet features a speaker from the college faculty or staff, and on Sunday the speaker was Steve O'Neill, Director of the Counseling Center. O'Neill '80, a father of three, discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy perspective on the father/daughter relationship.
At one point in his talk, O'Neill whipped out a squirt gun, using it to make his point that people respond differently to the same event. In the same way that the prospect of getting wet evoked different reactions from audience members, an event in the lives of fathers and daughters can result in varying responses and experiences.
O'Neill emphasized the importance of choice in these types of situations. "We [fathers] choose how to respond to our daughters and daughters in turn to their dads," he said. "My hope for us is that we all choose well."
According to O'Neill, it is important for fathers to talk to their daughters as adults and allow them to make their own decisions. "Now our [fathers] role is to guide, not push," he said. "Our daughters need to find their own answers, not ours."
O'Neill also encouraged fathers and daughters to maintain clear communication, saying, "The things that seem obvious still need to be said."
Other highlights of the brunch included an opening piano prelude by Karin Hancock '06 and a performance by Agnes, a campus female a cappella group.
The brunch on Sunday was the first banquet experience for some students, such as Rachel Kneeland '09, who found it nice to spend some quality time with my dad. I think Id like to attend this again in the future.
For other students, such as Samantha MacDonald '07, attending a banquet is a tradition. "My parents use it as an excuse to come visit me for the weekend and it is always fun to see them in the middle of this busy time," MacDonald said. "The brunch is always a nice chance for my dad to catch up with one another and enjoy a delicious meal while we do."
Future banquets include the Father/Son banquets in late February and the Mother/Daughter banquets at the end of April.