Illustration of Roger Angell, Willie Mays, Bruce Springsteen, and Johnny Carson

Credit: Kathryn Rathke

A dream dinner party

We asked readers to name four people—dead or alive—they wish they could invite over for dinner. Here's what they said.

Roger Angell, the (mostly) sports essayist and regular contributor to The New Yorker; Willie Mays, a Hall of Famer and my childhood hero who played for New York/San Francisco Giants; Bruce Springsteen, whom I've seen on every tour since the early '70s, going back to Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle; and Johnny Carson, who shaped American culture like no one else for 30 years. —Jeff Koenig, A&S '72

Jane Goodall, Barack Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Charles Singleton. —Elizabeth Hatcher, A&S '68 (MA), '70 (PhD)

Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, and Richard Dawkins. —Anand Sambasivan, A&S '02

Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin. Lincoln to better understand his efforts in the Civil War; Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin to see how an egomaniac thinks. —Henry Quigley, A&S '66

Lucille Ball, Gene Wilder, Lorne Michaels, and Tina Fey. It will be a celebration of laughter across the ages. —Amanda Leese, A&S '06

Michelle Obama, who is a remarkable role model for not only African American women but all women; Tom Brady, whom I admire for his drive, determination, and unending skills and accomplishments; my great aunt Sylvia, who passed away in 2010 and had a day named after her by former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; and Martin Luther King Jr. —Michelle Chiles, Ed '08 (MAT)

Julia Child, Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, and Warren Robertson, my deceased father, for one more time to share our conversation. —Ted Robertson, A&S '81

Plato, René Descartes, Peter Singer, and Hank Green. —Tihitina Aytenfisu, Class of 2021

Henry Ciccarone, the legendary Johns Hopkins lacrosse coach; Fred Smith, the lauded defensive coordinator of Hopkins lacrosse; Doug Turnbull, the four-time first team All American; and Bob Scott, the celebrated coach and athletic director. —Patrick G. Russell, A&S '89

Garth Brooks, who is not only one of my favorite entertainers of all time but also my celebrity doppelganger. The Prophet Ezekiel—I mean, have you ever read Ezekiel?! This guy is a trip! Judy Garland, who is likely the most famous person of all time, and with whom I share a birthday. Despite being one of the biggest stars of her time, she struggled with self-image and passed away shortly after I was born. Let's give her this fun night. I can't wait for her and Garth's duet. Forty-fourth President Barack Obama. I've agreed with him at times and disagreed with him at others, but no matter what, he's always been someone I've wanted to engage with in dinner and conversation. —Efrem Epstein, A&S '90

Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Robert Oppenheimer, and David Halberstam. —George Pillari, Engr '84

Zaha Hadid, Kimifusa (Kōbō) Abe, Max Brödel, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. —Monica Lopez Gonzalez, A&S '05, '07 (MA), '10 (PhD)

Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey. —Lola Adeyemi, SPH '08 (MPH)

Bryan Stevenson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barack Obama, and John Lewis. —Elizabeth Hart, A&S '87

Rafael Nadal, Janet Jagan, John Steinbeck, and Nefertiti. —Tristan Mohabir, A&S '12

Barack Obama, Kate McKinnon, Freddie Mercury, and Robin Williams. —Brittany Price, A&S '15 (MS)

Tsar Nicholas II, Ayn Rand, Dermot Kennedy, and Krista Tippett. —William Gregory Kirst, A&S '00

Michelangelo, George Washington, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. —Arsalan Jafree, Bus '19 (MBA)

Ted Williams, Milton S. Eisenhower, Jesus Christ, and Queen Elizabeth I. —Quentin Coplon, A&S '66

Michelle Obama, for her grace and wisdom; Carl Sagan, for his sheer brilliance; John F. Kennedy, for his political and historical perspective; and Teddy Roosevelt, for his vision and courage. —Theresa M. Flak, A&S '75 (MLA), Ed '81 (MEd)

Peter Abelard, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and JHU Professor Peter Achinstein. —Michael Anfang, A&S '19, '19 (MA)

Mahatma Gandhi, Michelle Obama, Cardi B, and Sherlock Holmes. —Siddhi Nargund, graduate student, Center for Biotechnology Education/Advanced Academic Programs

Next up: Tell us about the best job you've ever had. Send responses to with "Icebreaker" in the subject line. If we print your response, we'll send you a JHU pocket notebook.

Tagged icebreaker