On their final night as Johns Hopkins University undergraduates, members of the Class of 2019 gathered for a final campus celebration, the annual Senior Toast.
Accompanied by friends and family, the seniors flocked to Keyser Quad on the Homewood campus Wednesday for a night of food, drink, music, and celebration. During the event, the class presented a collective donation of $13,954 to the university, earmarked for various student groups, offices, and departments.
JHU President Ronald J. Daniels gave the toast from the steps of Gilman Hall, reflecting briefly on the mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which completed its historic flyby of Pluto just a few weeks before the now-seniors arrived at Johns Hopkins to launch their college careers.
"We were filled with a sense of awe and possibility about what had been accomplished there," Daniels said. "And you took that sense of possibility. You cultivated it, and you've realized it. Thank you for all you've done at Johns Hopkins."
As music echoed across the quad, students shared hugs and reminisced, talked about their futures, and posed for photos with one another. For many, it was an occasion of mixed emotions as their time at Hopkins ends.
"I'm excited to graduate, of course, but I am going to miss the college lifestyle," said Prasiddha Karki, a senior biomedical engineering major.
The event also gave students an opportunity to celebrate with loved ones who are in town for Thursday's universitywide Commencement ceremony.
"I thought it would be a nice way for my dad and my mom to meet up with my friends. This is the first time they get to meet some of their parents," said Asia Luna, a molecular and cellular biology major. "It's definitely bittersweet, though. Things feel very exciting and a little bit terrifying. I'm mostly glad I made it through."