Annual Commemoration Ball moves to R. House

By DEREK MORITZ | February 28, 2019

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COURTESY OF DEREK MORITZ Students gathered at R. House to celebrate the University’s birthday.

Student Leadership and Involvement hosted the 143rd annual Commemoration Ball at R. House in Remington on Friday. The event provided students with food and dancing to celebrate the University’s 143rd birthday.

The Commemoration Day was first introduced by Daniel Gilman in 1877, when he and Hopkins trustees decided they would celebrate the anniversary of the University every year on Feb. 22. Commemoration Day celebrations have changed over time. 

One noted difference in the celebration this year was the location. In the past, the event was held at the Engineer’s Club in Mount Vernon. Liz Pence, the coordinator of student programming and events, explained that the location change was meant to make the event more accessible to students.

“[R. House] is obviously a much closer venue. We wanted to have it local within our neighborhood, so it just made a lot of sense in terms of logistics, and we thought that we would be more able to provide a more substantial menu here at R. House than we were able to at the Engineers Club,” Pence said.

Various vendors, including BRD, Arba and Stall 11, catered the event. According to freshman Jeremy Hoffner, the food was a hit.

“There was a nice variety of different types of food, ranging for all sorts of diet and preferences. They had very, very good teriyaki chicken wings. I enjoyed a few too many of those,” he said.

Freshman Jason Rutberg praised the Hopkins-themed desserts.

“The action really picked up when the mascot cut the cake and the desserts were brought out. The confetti cookie I ate was by far the best food of the night,” Rutberg said.

Friday’s event also featured the introduction of the University’s new mascot design. Many students were excited to see Jay, including William Leister, a freshman.

“The blue jay was cool. I like the new design. It fits better with the school logo and the colors, and it doesn’t have teeth which is nice. It was just kind of a fun time. The blue jay did the Macarena which was lively,” Leister said.

The venue was decorated with blue and white balloons in honor of the University’s school colors. A photo booth let guests take pictures with their friends. DJ Jeff was on site playing today’s greatest hits, from Taylor Swift to Sicko Mode, and classics such as the Macarena and the Cupid Shuffle

A PowerPoint also played during the early portion of the event, containing interesting University history trivia, such as the locations of the two former barber shops on campus (Levering Hall and the Merrick Barn), and that saccharin, a low-calorie sweetener, was accidentally discovered by two Hopkins researchers in 1879, including Ira Remsen. Today, it is rumored that Remsen’s ashes are hidden behind a plaque in Remsen Hall. 

Guests received a pin, magnet and custom blue and white M&M’S at the end of the night. Freshman Joe Du recounted that overall, he had a great time celebrating the University’s 143rd birthday.

“By the time I left... there was plenty of food, lots of people were dancing; the new mascot is wonderful. It was solid,” Du said.

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