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Table for 1,200

A white tent on Pardee Way was decked out with 120 tables.

Twelve hundred guests came to USC’s house for dinner on Thursday, May 13 — commencement eve — and Hospitality Services and USC’s Special Events team was ready for them.

The elegant sold-out dinner for graduates and their parents was no small feat, but the USC team took the eighth annual Baccalaureate Dinner in stride.

A huge white tent on Pardee Way was decked out with 120 tables where celebrants toasted the close of their undergraduate careers.

“USC is one of the few schools even to attempt a sit-down dinner of this magnitude,” said Michael Gratz, executive director of Hospitality Services.

Robert Clawson and Mark Aliano of USC Catering and Conference Services said the dinner is the largest single catered event held on campus each year. It required a culinary staff of 72 working behind the scenes to prepare the three-course meal and a team of 62 servers to deliver it.

Executive chef Mark Baida, who collaborated with catering chef Franco DeDominicis, prepared a menu that included California goat cheese and roasted tomato salad with Tapenade vinaigrette; mustard crusted breast of chicken with roasted horseradish sauce; a bundle of carrots, green beans and asparagus, whipped potatoes and a dessert of caramel fudge brownie cheesecake.

“We like to send the students off with a lovely evening and a final, excellent example of our legendary service,” Gratz said.

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