About 200 stu­dents, fac­ulty, and staff reg­is­tered for the dinner, according to Amy Wooldridge, the ISSI’s assis­tant director for inter­na­tional stu­dent programming.

“We are very happy to share in this tra­di­tional Amer­ican hol­iday, where we usu­ally get together with friends and family and enjoy food and fun,” Wooldridge said in her opening remarks. “We hope you enjoy it.”

More than 7,500 inter­na­tional stu­dents from 140 coun­tries are cur­rently enrolled at North­eastern. The ISSI serves as a resource for those stu­dents and works to enhance the university’s inter­na­tional character.

Second from right, Elaine Wang, DMSB'15, an international student from Shanghai, China, fills up her plate during a Thanksgiving meal organized by the International Student and Scholar Institute. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

In addi­tion to feasting on turkey, mashed pota­toes, and other tra­di­tional Thanks­giving eats, atten­dees were served a Thanks­giving his­tory lesson by William Fowler, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of His­tory.

“Giving thanks is as old as humanity,” Fowler said in his remarks. “Every cul­ture for thou­sands and thou­sands of years, on one occa­sion or another, has paused to give thanks.”

Fowler gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the Pil­grims’ journey in 1620 from Eng­land to Ply­mouth, Mass., where they learned trades from Native Amer­i­cans that helped them get through the winter. In return, the Pil­grims held a feast to give thanks to the Native Americans.

William Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History, serves up a Thanksgiving history lesson. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Fowler also noted that Thanks­giving did not become an offi­cial fed­eral hol­iday until Pres­i­dent Abraham Lincoln’s dec­la­ra­tion in 1863.

Daniel Ravikumar, ME ‘15, is from India and had never expe­ri­enced a Thanks­giving meal before Tuesday. He knew Thanks­giving was a time when family and friends got together, but he didn’t know the story behind it, saying that he “didn’t know it had so much history.”

Everyone who attended the dinner received a recipe for cooking a turkey. An inspired Ravikumar said he and his friends were going to try and cook one on Thursday.