Kudos to President Schapiro for hosting more than 50 Williams students at his home for Thanksgiving dinner.

In addition to a piece of pumpkin pie, international students at Williams College will be treated to a slice of Americana as they celebrate Thanksgiving today at President Morton O. Schapiro’s house.

It’s the second year Schapiro and his family have opened their home to students who, for whatever reason, do not travel home for Thanksgiving. For some two dozen international students, it likely will be their first experience with the holiday.

“I want them to see what it’s like, and I want them to see it’s a great family event,” said Schapiro. “I want them to see it’s a wonderful celebration and giving thanks, and I take that seriously. … I want to expose people to the best of Williams and the best of the country, too.”

In this, as in so many other ways, Morty represents the very best that Williams has to offer.

The rest of the article is below. It makes for nice holiday reading. Were any EphBlog readers present for the festivities? If so, we would love to hear how things went.

Schapiro said the event will be “a real family gathering.”

“I think we learned from last year what worked and what didn’t,” he said. “I think we changed the time, and we’re going to have a much longer time in the beginning, a sort of reception meet and greet in the house first.”

The guests then will move to the living room, which will be transformed into a large dining room.

Counting his wife, his three children and his parents, Schapiro expects about 60 altogether to sit down together for the big meal. They will dine on “lots of turkeys,” with all the usual trimmings, and of course, pumpkin pie.

“There’s got to be pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie,” he said.

Schapiro said some of his guests should include New England residents who will not be home for Thanksgiving because of their participation in athletic events. Others may be students who live in faraway states like California or Idaho.

“And they’re not about to go home for a couple of days, knowing that the semester will quickly end and they’ll have to go home again,” said Schapiro. “So, we invited all of them — who are first-year students or sophomores.”

Based on the response, the Schapiros expect about 50 students at their home, about half from the United States.

“We have some help with the cooking,” Schapiro said. “Can you imagine? That would be a lot. You’re less worried about the Californians than you are the kids from Bangladesh, but you want to expose them to a great, really family based tradition in this country. It’s a great secular holiday.”

Schapiro hopes the day will include the international students sharing their country’s traditions and talking about other secular, family holidays such as Thanksgiving.

“Then my kids can learn and I can learn,” he said.

International students responded favorably to the invitation.

“They said, ‘Oh, President Schapiro, this is great,’ and all that,” he said.

Having students over for the Schapiro Thanksgiving feast began after the president had a conversation last year with an international student about traditions and Thanksgiving.

“It suddenly occurred to me to ask her, ‘Where do people go?’ I was particularly intrigued with this idea of international students, whom you want to expose to our best traditions. Thanksgiving, I think, is one of them,” Schapiro said.

Wondering what was available for those students who did not travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Schapiro learned that the dining halls are open.

“My wife and I thought it would be nice to have some international students over,” he said. About 30 students attended the Schapiro’s last Thanksgiving dinner.

“This year, it turns out that something like 90 students are signed up, that they were going to be [on campus] for a Thanksgiving meal,” said Schapiro. Some of the students have made other arrangements for the day.

In addition to the Schapiros, college Chaplain Richard E. Spalding said at least a dozen area families typically open their homes to students on Thanksgiving.

“At the request of the students, we try to organize a matching process,” said Spalding. “We haven’t done that this year. There hasn’t been an expressed need for it. That may be just because most people seem to be nestling in.”

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