The annual St John’s College Fathers’ Dinner was held on Saturday 26 August 2023, in a convivial night celebrating the Fathers of the College.
Our Fathers, guests, staff and students enjoyed pre-dinner canapes and drinks in the College Quadrangle, followed by a seated dinner in the College Dining Hall and the beautiful Philosophical Room. Such was the popularity and positive feedback provided by the Mothers to their husbands after the move of the Mothers’ Dinner into the Dining Hall, that there was a positive buzz in the air and much excitement for all Fathers attending.
The address to the College and toast to the students was given by Mr Jeremy Morris SC, father of Imogen Morris, current third-year student and Senior Resident Assistant. He imparted heartfelt advice from his experiences with fatherhood:
Don’t be too hard on yourself as a parent, and do not judge yourself against others. Strive to do your best, but you are you, and you will be loved for that, even if you drive them totally bonkers sometimes. None of us are perfect, we will all make mistakes, the world will keep turning.…. But what you have is a bond that no-one can take away.
After a touching fatherly moment shared throughout the Hall, Imogen gave the right of reply and toast to the fathers:
Although tonight is a night of celebration, it is more importantly a night of recognition and gratitude for those men here who have been immense influences on our lives. These people here serve as a reminder that we must strive to do better, to stand up for what we believe is right and to try to embody the many amazing qualities of the fathers in this room.
I then spoke to the importance of strong and loving fatherly figures in our lives:
To my students, a word of advice. For those of you who are here with your fathers — Go easy on them! As I hope you will all discover in time, there is no manual or instruction book for being a father. There is no YouTube instruction video for how to teach your children truthfulness, kindness, or courage. There is no diploma or degree for ‘great parenting’. But if there were, the fact you’re here in this room suggests your fathers likely would earn it.
Also, to my students tonight, try to see the best in your fathers, for they see the best in you. I thank God every day for my four children, even if they do sometimes make it tough. Their sorrow is my sorrow, and their joy is my joy. To see them grow up is one of the greatest blessings of my life, and I would not be the man I am today were it not for them.
Our College soloists and musicians led the singing of “Bread of Heaven” which was rousingly sung by the entire Hall and Philosophical Room. At the end of the dinner, fathers and students continued their conversations in the new College Bar, many of them experiencing this new space for their first time.
I would like to wish all our Fathers a happy Father’s Day, as we celebrate the men who teach us to dream, who remind us to chuckle, and who encourage us to evolve into the finest versions of ourselves. May we always value and actively nurture this bond steeped in respect, love, and compassion. It’s this bedrock that cradles us when life throws its unexpected curveballs.
Dr Mark Schembri Rector
To view the photo gallery of the Fathers’ Dinner, please click here (Password: Polding22).