After more than 70 years, Trudy Huebner finally got her wish to “sit down and be waited on.” Huebner, a 1936 graduate and University regent emeritus, said she was fired from her job serving diners when she lived in the Martha Cook Residence Hall.
“They told me I expended too much merriment with the guests, so they moved me to a job working in the elevator,” Huebner said.
But last night, Huebner, along with more than 140 Martha Cook residents and special guests, kicked off the holiday season with the 56th annual Messiah Dinner held at the residence hall. The dinner is traditionally held on the first Sunday in December, following the performance of Handel”s Christmastime oratorio, the “Messiah,” at Hill Auditorium.
The semi-formal event hosted prominent University faculty, administration and alumni. All guests were escorted by Martha Cook residents.
“We get the chance to meet people in the University you normally don”t see,” said Rackham student Jun Hwa Ha, who escorted University interim Provost Lisa Tedesco.
“That was probably the most exciting part, to be randomly hooked up with someone,” said LSA senior Teagan Schweitzer.
Other guests included former University President Robben Fleming, University Musical Society Director Ken Fischer and soloists from the “Messiah” performance.
“It”s definitely the major social event of the building. Every year it gets a little nicer,” said Catherine Davis, a member of the Martha Cook board of governors.
The student escorts are “the greatest part of the event perhaps. Getting to meet the young women of this building is wonderful,” Davis said.
“They are so talented and diverse in their interests. It seemed like when I was a resident, girls were all either teachers or nurses. Now there are doctors and engineers. The change is tremendous,” she added.
The evening”s theme was “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.” Current residents honored the building”s past traditions and alumni during the dinner.
“It”s fun to be part of the tradition,” said LSA freshman Alice Shukla.
Dinner was followed by a musical and theatrical performance which featured the talents of Martha Cook residents.
“I didn”t know what to expect. But there was a lot of excitement mounting over these past few days, and I”m glad I could be a part of it,” said LSA freshman Amy Costello.
Costello also added that the process of putting the event together strengthened the sisterhood of the Martha Cook community.