High Table began in 2010 as a tradition for the first-year class based on the “Oxbridge” style of Formal Hall.
In this medieval-aged custom, students, faculty, and administrators all dine in Hall (the British term for dining hall) together over a formal, served meal. The dinner atmosphere is academic in nature as attendees are required to wear their gowns along with a more formal attire for more important sittings. A Latin grace is said beforehand, although today this is more for traditional than religious reasons. The physical layout of the room is also unique, featuring an elevated High Table. At “Oxbridge” colleges it is seen as a high honor to receive an invite to sit at the high table, and most colleges deny undergraduates the privilege altogether.
The idea behind the JHU High Table dinner is to take many of the customs of a ceremonial Formal Hall sitting and adapt them to Johns Hopkins to create an exciting event for the first-year class. Just like at Oxbridge colleges, the atmosphere of the JHU dinner has an academic feel to it. Faculty members are interspersed with students and the President and Provost of the university will sit with other key administrators at the High Table. This dinner provides a unique venue for faculty, students, and administrators to dine and interact. High Table is only open to first-year students and is held every spring.
Check out coverage and photos of previous dinners: