And It’s a Wrap: End of Year Celebrations at the HNC

And It’s a Wrap: End of Year Celebrations at the HNC

With finals season, and more importantly, graduation season right around the corner, HNC students engaged in several activities throughout the month of June to blow off some steam and celebrate what has been an eventful year for all. With an increase of students on campus, both Chinese and international, no opportunity was missed to organize in-person events and strengthen connections. During these last few weeks, some friendships were started, and others solidified as students prepared to wrap up their first year for some, and their HNC experience for others.

Spring Concert

On May 27th several students organized and hosted a Spring Concert in the HNC lounge to raise money for the upcoming prom. With the invaluable help of student volunteers to run the bar and prepare drinks, other students performed a host of musical and dancing pieces. Guitar, bass, the guzheng, drums – no instrument was left aside. Faculty were also present, and some even participated in the performances.

Graduation Ball

On June 2nd, HNC students gathered in the ballroom at the Intercontinental Hotel, located in the iconic Zifeng Tower. The event was organized by the student committee, or banwei, and drinks and food were also served at the buffet. The theme was a masked ball, so students arrived donning their best attire, some renting dresses and others dusting off their tuxedos. There was also a mask-making activity to fit with the theme. This night of celebration was a great way to blow off steam before the last push for finals week, and it also marked a perfect occasion to celebrate successful thesis defenses.

Spring BBQ

On June 10th, HNC administration organized the annual barbecue with the support of various community members. Held in the Center's courtyard, students and staff manned the grill, serving both beef and meatless hamburger and hot dog options. Refreshments and desserts were also provided, and entertainment was ensured by our trusty HNC band. Due to a thunderstorm, the party eventually moved indoors, but the barbecue was nonetheless a welcome opportunity for students to gather and start preparing for the upcoming graduation ceremony.

2023 Commencement Ceremony

June 16th marked HNC's 2023 commencement ceremony, celebrating and recognizing the 2023 graduating cohort. This ceremony had the highest in-person turnout of any graduation ceremony since 2019. Friends and family gathered in the HNC auditorium while students excitedly anticipated the conferral of their diplomas. The HNC welcomed esteemed guest speakers Dr. Jill McGovern, member of the Hopkins-Nanjing Council, and Dr. Hong Yixing, former Party Secretary of Nanjing University, and current Distinguished Professor in Economics. The speakers shared anecdotes about the founding of the HNC, initially a dream shared by two visionaries, president of Johns Hopkins University, Stephen Muller, and president of Nanjing University, Kuang Yaming, which eventually became reality. 

The banwei also gave out the prizes for the ping pong tournament, held in honor of the normalization of US-China relations and Ping-Pong Diplomacy. The two student speakers, Song Tianqi and Chad Higgenbottom also delivered touching speeches to the class of 2023 as they prepare to move on to the next stages in their lives.

Dragon Boat Race

On June 17th the HNC dragon boat team participated in a race held in Baguazhou, a suburban neighborhood of Nanjing. Clad in their uniforms, the HNC team raced twice, managing to avoid capsizing and receiving the award for best drummer. We also enjoyed watching the other events and enjoyed the festive atmosphere ahead of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Written by Sophia Pradels, MAIS 2024