Thanksgiving dinner soft launches Thurgood Marshall dining hall

President David Wilson, Sodexo Magic, and the senior administration served Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday for a soft launch of the new Thurgood Marshall dining hall.


Elijah Pittman

The university served Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday for a soft launch of the new Thurgood Marshall dining hall.

Elijah Pittman, Contributing Writer

Music played and faces were stuffed as students and faculty danced alike at the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted in the new Thurgood Marshall Dining Hall.

Faculty and senior administration alike served food at the dinner, among them was University President David Wilson, Provost Hongtao Yu, and Don-Terry Veal, vice president of state and federal relations. Senior faculty from the Refac also joined. 

There was a mix of live music with a live drummer and trumpet player playing along with the DJ’s music. Students and faculty alike danced and sang along to the music, filling the night with smiles and fun.   

“There was a very positive energy throughout the cafe. It felt very homey and like being around your favorite relatives,” said Kendall Stubbs, a freshman screenwriting and animation major. 

The soft launch of the new dining hall marked the first new dining option for Morgan students in nearly seven years since the opening of the Chick-Fil-A kiosk in the University Student Center.

The Thurgood Marshall Hall housing complex was opened in early August, but the dining hall was still under construction. However, it was prepared for a soft opening just in time for Thanksgiving.

“They finished building it [the dining hall] pretty fast, I actually expected it to open next semester, it was a bit of a surprise,” said Cherese Jordan, a freshman computer science major.

The attached dining facility is set to open when students return on Jan. 17 for the spring semester, according to Kevin Banks, vice president for student affairs. 

“One of the challenges when trying to transition from one dining hall to the other dining hall,” explained Banks is that “first they [the staff] have to be trained to use the new equipment which takes 4 weeks, and then testing the new equipment.” 

The soft launch also served as a test run for line functionality and seating availability for students in the dining hall, which Banks said would run more smoothly in the future as there would be more food service stations than the two at the dinner. 

What about Rawlings and the Refac? 

For the immediate future, the Rawlings Dining Hall will be shuttered with various plans that lie in its future, some of them being a possible student business incubator, fitness center, or even a bowling alley, according to Banks.  

“President Wilson put out to students if they had ideas that they should submit those ideas to his office for consideration,” he further said. 

Whatever happens to Rawlings, it is certain that the space will still exist to serve students.