UMass Dining Services Salutes Graduates with 'Presidential State Dinner'

DATE:           Thursday, April 18
TIME:            Reception, 6-7:15 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:       Campus Center Auditorium
More than 300 graduating seniors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will get an extra special sendoff this month when the award-winning UMass Dining Services fetes them at a White House-style “state dinner” replete with four-course dinner, presidential red carpet and an honor guard of ROTC cadets.
Overseeing the gala is someone who knows a thing or two about presidential state dinners: former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier, who cooked up plans for the event with Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst.
“This is going to be the first-ever event of its kind on any campus in the nation. Many of our graduates have dined with us for the past four years and it’s our way to thank them for their support,” says Toong. “In addition to witnessing the pomp and circumstance similar to an authentic state dinner, our guests will not only savor some delicious cuisine with proper dining etiquette, but will be politically inspired as they go out in the world to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Along with the pageantry dictated by diplomatic protocol, Toong says the seniors will be joined by a “special presidential dinner guest,” and receive White House mementos.
The event is free to graduating students on the UMass Amherst meal plan.
Toong says the event could become part of the senior year experience at UMass. “I think the students will be in for an eye-opening experience and perhaps it will become one of the most sought-after events on campus.”
Contact: Ken Toong, 413/545-1504,
                Christopher Howland, 413/545-5385,