December at Hopkins

December is a busy month at Hopkins! Students were finishing classes, writing papers, studying, and taking finals, but the campus still managed to celebrate the holidays and have fun. There were a variety of different events that served as study breaks, and the year finished off with the new Johns Hopkins video, part of the new “Thank You” video tradition.

Lighting of the Quads

The Sixth Annual Lighting of the Quads took place on December 1, on the Keyser Quadrangle in front of the MSE Library. There were performances by various a capella groups and the JHU Pep Band, and free hot chocolate, apple cider, and desserts for students. A new addition to the event this year was the gingerbread house building competition. From the multitude of entries, three winners emerged. First place went to the History Department, for a gingerbread rendition of a block of row houses. Second place was awarded to Alumni Affairs’ gingerbread version of Gilman Hall, and third place went a gingerbread Hogwarts, built by a group of students nicknamed “Dumbledore’s Army.” Faculty, staff, and students all celebrated the beginning of December and winter together. Read more in the gazette article here and see more pictures from the event here.

The third place winner in the gingerbread house building competition

The Fifth Annual Latke Hamentashen Debate

The Annual Debate was held on December 2, 2006. The Debate is modeled after the tradition that started in 1946 at the University of Chicago. Every year, with the assistance of a moderator (this year Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs Sarah Steinberg), four professors face off to determine which Jewish holiday food is better. The professors each argue using their area of expertise, which makes for an interesting event! The debaters this year for Team Latke were Dr. Hollis Robbins (JHU Center for Africana Studies/Peabody Department of Humanities) and Dr. Jonathan Flombaum (Department of Psychological and Brain Studies), while Team Hamentashen was represented by Dr. Yifat Monnickendam (Program in Jewish Studies) and Professor Vivian Braun (Department of Near Eastern Studies). Team Latke prevailed, and all attending got to enjoy free latkes and hamentashen.

Holiday Spirit Hits the JHU Museums

The Homewood House Museum and the Evergreen Museum both hosted a variety of events for both Hopkins students and the community, kicking off the month on December 4th with Dollar Days, a citywide event to encourage people to visit local museums. Other events included Homewood by Candlelight (a chance to see a version of the 1801 holiday season and enjoy a free eggnog reception), the Ever Green Evening (a student art show, holiday party, and fundraiser on December 9th), Silhouettes for the Holidays (Artist Erik Johnson was available to do silhouette portraits for attendees) and the Come Home for the Holidays Bus Tour (participants had the chance to visit various Baltimore area historic houses, and see how inhabitants would have celebrated the holidays).

Holiday Films as a Break from Studies

Hopkins students had other chances to get in the holiday spirit, with two holiday film presentations. On December 3rd, as part of the Friday Night Films series, the HOP (Hopkins Organization for Programming) presented “Elf” and on December 9th, there was a free screening of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas) in Shriver Hall, courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Film Society and the Hop.

Tribute to our Founder
Every Christmas Eve since 1998, the 125th anniversary of Johns Hopkins’ death, the University has held a graveside remembrance of the university’s founder. However, this year, there was a slight change in plans, as the private cemetery was found locked. Ross Jones, who led the tribute to Johns Hopkins, decided to hold the event outside the cemetery instead, and the wreath that is customarily laid next to his tombstone was later placed there when the cemetery reopened. Those present include Provost Lloyd Minor, Chief Information Officer Stephanie Reel, Alumni Association President Raymond Snow, staff, faculty, employees’ family members and others. Read more in the Gazette article here.

Cars arrive for the commemoration

Thank You video

By the end of Tuesday, its first day on the university’s home page, the Johns Hopkins end-of-year thank you video had captured more than 10,000 visitors, who viewed the video, behind-the-scenes photos and outtakes (yes, that is Nobel laureate Peter Agre warming up by singing the periodic table) and checked out the Gilbert and Sullivan–like lyrics. The video, dubbed The Model of a Modern University, was produced for the second year by the university’s Office of Marketing and Creative Services. Faculty, staff and students from all divisions took part in the production, hamming it up and lip-syncing the complicated lyrics. They all “sounded” great, thanks to the vocals provided by members of Peabody’s Opera Department. Watch the video here on this page, and you can also view last year’s video, “We Thank You,” by clicking here.

Thank you, and Best Wishes for 2011 from Johns Hopkins!