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Saint Mary’s welcomes senior dads to campus

Rebecca O'Neil | Friday, November 9, 2012

This weekend, Saint Mary’s will welcome men from all over the country as fathers arrive on campus for Senior Dads Weekend, a three-day long event that encourages fathers to reconnect with their daughters through both organized and informal activities.

Senior Sarah Huser said she is looking forward to sharing her college experience with her father for a few days.

“It’s not something most college students get to do. I feel like the Saint Mary’s community extends beyond the student body and the professors;, it encompasses each person’s family,” she said. “I’m excited to let him experience first-hand why I love Saint Mary’s so much.”

Senior and Elkhart native Mara Scott said she plans to give her father a personal tour of campus as well, even though she sees her parents about once a week.

“It’ll be fun to show him around and literally walk through my daily schedule with him,” Scott said. “He’s not as involved in my college life so it’s nice to involve him in it on my own terms.”

Scott said she is also interested to meet the male role models who have influenced her peers.

“I’m so used to talking with my friends’ moms and having them talk to my mom, but I haven’t even met most of my friends’ dads. I’m not sure what to expect. It will be a good environment because we’re doing manly things, like the beer tasting,” Scott said. “I plan on tailgating and then going to a screening of the football game in Vander Vennet Theatre.”

Senior Maggie Galvin said her father hasn’t visited Saint Mary’s since her older sister’s graduation two years ago.

“I seriously just got off the phone with him about [this weekend],” Galvin said. “He loves spending quality time with me. I’m definitely daddy’s little girl.”

The weekend’s official events include evening entertainment in Noble Family Dining Hall, “The Secret Garden,” a game watch and a Mass.

“I’m pumped for the beer garden,” Galvin said. “I think my goal of the weekend is to make my dad feel like he’s back at school and living it up with his frat.”

Scott said she is most enthusiastic about the hypnotist featured in the Dining Hall Friday night.

“I’m hoping it’s the one that they’ve had at ND. I’ve been to three shows over there and it seems so fun and unusual,” she said. “I want my dad to be hypnotized!”

In comparison with her Moms Weekend experience, senior Nicole DeRoche said she anticipates a more laid-back, “carefree” weekend with her father.

“I would probably shop with my mom, whereas my dad and I will most likely go to the Football Hall of Fame, out to eat and then out to bars,” DeRoche said. “My dad’s a Notre Dame alum, and he’s eager to return to his old stomping ground and show me where he used to party.”

While Senior Dads Weekend is a privilege for Saint Mary’s students, it also marks the beginning of the end of their time at the College.

“It’s one of the things that I’ve looked forward to since freshman year,” Galvin said. “So it’s almost surreal for both me and my parents for me to be in my last year of school. When I started college [my dad] told me it was just going to fly by and here I am … approaching an event that already marks the end of it.”

Huser said her father is apprehensive about her impending graduation.

“Honestly, the weekend is probably more important to him than it is to me. I’m excited about being a senior and he isn’t,” Huser said. “I’m moving out of the house officially in six months and as much as he respects the person who I have become, there’s no doubt he’s missing the little girl who always ran up to him in the driveway when he pulled in on his truck.”

For DeRoche, this weekend represents a unique father-daughter bonding experience.

“We’ll definitely be having a lot of ‘what’s happening next’ conversations,” DeRoche said. “It’s a special time for my father because it will probably be the last organized event we’ll ever do together, besides the father-daughter dance at marriage.”

Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edu