According to director of banquets Justin Smith 07, about 145 mother/son couples attended the Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch.
Kris Vatter, director of student activities, was Saturdays featured speaker. The mother of a one-year-old, Vatter spoke on the challenges of new motherhood and the lessons shes learned so far. Vatter acknowledged the difficulty of providing parenting advice to her particular audience, saying, "So what advice can I offer to those moms with 18 or more years of experience than I?"
Vatter encouraged mothers to take many pictures, mentor young mothers and embrace alone time spent with sons. She also reflected on the kinds of men found at St. Olaf, those who contradict the negative stereotypes sometimes associated with college students.
"For every horror story you hear on the news about students making bad choices about alcohol, theres Ole men mentoring youth in the area," she said. "For the athletes in high-profile positions not making grades, there are Ole men traveling internationally abroad and challenging themselves both personally and academically."
Vatter said she hopes her son will one day follow the lead of these men. "Ole men are smart, thoughtful, grounded and decent everything I want my son to be," she said. "I can only hope that when the day comes for him to choose a college that he finds one as solid and good as St. Olaf."
Sundays scheduled speaker was Cheryl Johnson, associate director of financial aid. However, Johnson fell ill and was unable attend. Smith said he invited mothers and sons to step up to the microphone and say a few words, but no one took him up on his offer.
One of the students who attended a banquet last weekend was Nick Frank 07. "I had a great time," he said. "Being a senior, it was a little hard to go through it for the last time. The best part was being able to spend time with my mom, Frank said. The older I get, the more I appreciate everything she did for me."
The Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Banquets are planned for the spring.