First-Year Banquet reimagines a Hopkins tradition

In its ninth year, the event formerly known as High Table gets a new name and a new look

Video: Renee Fischer

Gold chairs, blue tablecloths, academic regalia, and towers of dessert—Tuesday night's First-Year Banquet marked the ninth anniversary of the Johns Hopkins University tradition formerly known as High Table. It took place in the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center.

The event, which borrows from Oxford and Cambridge dining traditions, provides a unique opportunity for faculty, administrators, and students to interact outside of the classroom.

Freshman Class President Sam Schatmeyer gave opening remarks before junior Brice Messenger read a selection from Daniel Coit Gilman's inaugural address. The Octopodes, JHU's co-ed a cappella group, sang the Johns Hopkins University Ode.

This year's program also featured a tribute to Frederick Scott, the university's first African-American undergraduate student.

While a Peabody jazz trio played in the background, attendees enjoyed a salad with baby curly kale, Black Horse Farm golden beets, and heirloom tomatoes. The main dish included a Murray's Farm roasted BBQ chicken breast with sweet potato mash and slow-braised collard greens. For dessert, there was Black Forest cheesecake. Bon Appetit catered the night's meal.

Dean Beverly Wendland of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and Dean Ed Schlesinger of the Whiting School of Engineering led a toast, and Coco Cai, a freshman class senator, gave a speech of thanksgiving.

The menu card read, "Tonight, we celebrate Johns Hopkins' deep-seated heritage and commitment to innovation by honoring where we have come and where we have risen to today."

The First-Year Banquet is made possible by the Hopkins Parents Fund.

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