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Faculty invited to Formal Hall

Formal Hall, a tradition that began at English universities, is making a comeback at Miami, where it was held until the 1960s. The second dinner of the semester will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in the newly renovated Heritage Room in the Shriver Center.

The ritual gathers members of the academic community around an elegant, formal dinner and provides an opportunity for faculty to get to know students outside of the classroom. Faculty are encouraged to invite students to dine with them and to request a table sign-up sheet when purchasing tickets.

“We hope that having regular Formal Halls will create a more academic environment on campus and lead to more student interaction with faculty outside of the classroom,” said Kevin Van Dyke, a senior and chair of the committee on academic social tradition (COAST).

The event also provides a forum for alumni to interact with current faculty.

Formal Hall involves a ceremony celebrating academics that is usually seen only at convocation and commencement. Class banners will be hung, and the evening will begin with a procession of graduates. Any person attending the ceremony who has graduated from college will wear an academic gown of appropriate rank.

“The ceremony will seem foreign and may take many students and even professors out of their respective comfort zones,” said Van Dyke, “but we believe that’s a strength, not a weakness of the event.”

Tickets, $10 for faculty, administrators and students and $20 for guests not affiliated with Miami, can be purchased at the Shriver Center box office. They will not be sold at the door and are limited in availability; only a few will be sold after Monday, Nov. 3.

COAST plans to hold Formal Halls at least twice a semester to celebrate the university as an active society of scholars.

Date Published: 10/30/2003
Volume: 23   Number: 13

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