Mom enjoys her last 'MoM' weekend with son Conner

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Julie Phillippi-Whitney, the mother of Brother Conner Phillippi ’17, missed out on the Mothers of Minerva weekend last year at the SAE house on the University of South Carolina’s house. But she wasn’t going to miss this year.

Conner is a senior, so it was her last chance to spent the weekend in Columbia and interact with the other moms of SC Delta Chapter.

“It’s just a real good weekend of bonding,” she says. “I have gone every year except for last year (when Conner was studying in Hong Kong). … It’s the best three days you have with your son in college.”

This past MoM event – held in February – was the 10th in the chapter’s history. The weekend gives the moms of the active brothers a chance to get to know one another and the young men who make up SC Delta Chapter. The event is named after Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom in Roman mythology.

“It’s a weekend of bonding with mothers and sons,” says Julie, who runs a public relations firm in Cincinnati. “In high school, Conner wouldn’t want to be seen with me. But the moms and sons cut loose together; it’s really fun.”

And it’s not just for the moms: Grandmothers are invited too. In fact, Conner’s 82-year-old grandmother, Sandie Hill, has gone every year with Julie.

Being from the Midwest, Julie enjoys taking in so much Southern charm when she’s in Columbia.

“They’re all sweethearts and I love how they all say ‘ma’am,’” she says of the brothers. “They just go the extra mile for you.”

The Whitney family is Greek to the core. Julie was a Tri-Delt at Miami of Ohio, and Sandie was an Alpha Xi Delta at Ohio State – where she met Conner’s grandfather, who was a Beta Theta Pi; Conner’s uncle was SAE at Ohio State. So it just seemed natural that Conner would pledge a fraternity. Although his purpose in coming to USC was to study at the school’s prestigious international school of business, he decided to add the SC Delta brothers to his family.

“I liked that aspect of brotherhood,” says Conner, who attended an all-boys high school. “Forty years from now, I’ll still be hanging out with all these guys; we’re a tight-knit group of kids.”

The bonds of brotherhood at SC Delta are strong, and the Mothers of Minerva event allows the moms a chance to bond with one another as well.

“I’ve made some wonderful friends down south,” Julie says. “I honestly cried on (the last day), because I said the next time I’m going to be back will be for graduation.”

There’s a full weekend of activities for the moms, starting with a casual get-together on Friday night. Come Saturday morning, there’s a moms-only event, which this was a yoga session followed by breakfast and shopping. Saturday night features a formal dinner, and then there’s a brunch Sundays.

The big moment of the weekend is the Saturday formal. This year it was held in the banquet area of Williams-Brice Stadium. The mothers always put together a charity auction, and there’s dinner and dancing.

“The moms and sons cut loose together,” Julie says. “It’s really fun – my mom was dancing with her cane!”

“She lives for this event,” Conner says of his grandmother. “I’m really happy she was able to come down.”