Festive cheer fills annual graduate, law and medical student holiday dinner

Holiday-themed sweaters, hats, and headgear decorated 72 faculty and staff volunteers serving up festive cheer and fine food at the annual graduate, law and medical student holiday dinner.

Hundreds of students gathered in the company of their peers to enjoy the traditional event on the North Haven Campus on November 27. The Office of Graduate Student Affairs transformed the campus' dining hall into a holiday dinner venue featuring a multi-course dinner and decadent desserts. The event also offered a celebratory glass of wine for 21-and-over graduate students. 

Director of Graduate Affairs Stefano Fasulo said the holiday dinner helps to build upon and deepen the sense of community among Quinnipiac’s graduate students. 

“A lot of our students are interacting and engaging with their faculty and peers in the classroom, but this is definitely a place where they are able to relax and enjoy conversation with them that’s not a classroom setting. It is something our faculty, staff and students look forward to all year,” said Fasulo. 

School of Law Dean Jennifer Brown said faculty and staff welcome the opportunity to show their support for the  students.  

“It’s just so nice to see the students relax for a little bit, especially at the end of the year. We know they’re gearing up for finals, and this gives them a nice time to come together with the community, and have a festive time together,” said Brown.  

Betsey Smith, retired senior associate dean of the School of Health Sciences, and Gina Frank, dean of graduate student affairs, instituted the event when the North Haven Campus was in its early years. 

“For some of the graduate students who have been here five or seven years and have enjoyed the undergraduate holiday dinner, this is a bit different, and it’s something that’s just for them. So it’s become a nice tradition,” said Smith.  

Alexandra Luehrman ’24, JD ’26, has enjoyed both types of holiday dinners during her Quinnipiac experience. She said each has its own special characteristics. 

“The undergraduate holiday graduate dinner is a bit more whimsical. I’m here with my law school friends, and we’re really enjoying it,” said Luehrman.  

Kolby Rogers, JD ’26, said he appreciated the effort and enthusiasm faculty members put into make this a special night for students. 

“It was nice to see the faculty come together from the graduate schools to make a nice event for everybody,” said Rogers. “It’s a nice break from studying.”  

Seth Freeman, JD ’26, said the offer of enjoying the holiday dinner in the building just a few hours after his classes ended created the incentive to stay and do some more studying.  

“It was a great motivator, because we stayed here for dinner and got a lot of studying done, and we’re going to go back to study after this,” said Freeman. 

Pathologist Assistant program member Sammi Hoar, MHS ’24, said she was glad she responded to the email invitation to attend the dinner.

“It’s a really nice vibe here tonight. It’s such a nice gesture and way to welcome us back after a week off. It’s a nice way of helping to ease you into finals,” said Hoar.  

Physical Therapy clinical assistant professor Karen Blood said she enjoyed catching up with her students after Thanksgiving break and seeing graduate students from across many disciplines come together for the event. 

“We do a lot together department-wise, but this is for all of the graduate students. They get to see everybody, and they don’t get to do that on a regular basis,” said Blood.  

Sports Journalism student Golibe Gwam, MS ’24, said she’s usually on the Mount Carmel Campus and enjoyed coming to the North Haven Campus to be with her peers. 

“I got the email and talked to some of my friends about it. We thought, food, drinks, good time, meet other graduates – let’s go for it,” said Gwam. 

Gwam enjoyed the holiday dinner with a newly-met peer, first-year medical student James Jaramillo, MD ’27. Jaramillo said he heard about the event from faculty in his program.  

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