Comedian Hasan Minhaj Performs at Rose-Hulman as Part of ‘Vaccination Challenge’

Monday, May 23, 2022
Hasan Minhaj performing at Rose-Hulman.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj performs Thursday, May 19, 2022, at Rose-Hulman as part of the college's "Vaccination Challenge."

As one of the top undergraduate engineering colleges in the nation, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s students are known for meeting a challenge. 

So when anonymous alumni donors offered to sponsor a headline performing act to perform a private show for the campus with a challenge to the Rose-Hulman community to hit a COVID-19 vaccination rate of 85% or higher, the students and other members of the community answered the charge. Currently, 93% of Rose-Hulman students and 88% of employees have received all doses in the primary series of the vaccine.

Vaccinated students were able to vote on their preferred genre of entertainment and the specific performer they wanted to see. The majority of students voted for a comedian and indicated that Hasan Minhaj was their top choice. Minhaj, a Peabody Award winner, obliged by adding the stop to his nationwide one-man show, “The Kings Jester.” He performed Thursday, May 19, before a private audience of vaccinated students, faculty and staff at the Rose-Hulman Sports and Recreation Center. 

One of the anonymous donors for the event noted that they wanted to promote vaccinations to help ensure students could resume some of the more traditional college activities that were lost during the pandemic.

“Whether our donation made a significant impact in the results or not, we feel blessed to have been able to make the event a possibility, and have been more than thrilled about the vaccination rates achieved across campus” the donor stated. “The contribution by our co-donor as well as the involvement of the school administration and student planning groups for the event, made this a reality, are greatly appreciated, and I feel have had more of a long-term impact than the money we contributed.” 

The crowd, mostly made up of students, laughed heartily throughout the 80-minute set of Minhaj, who stars in the Netflix show “Homecoming King” and is a former regular correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

“I really enjoyed how he kept emphasizing the relationship and distinctions between satire and sincerity,” said senior mechanical engineering major Zariyah Robinson, who was in attendance. She went on to thank “everyone who pitched in to get Hasan Minhaj to campus to enrich our Rose experience, and everyone who helped set up the production. His humor was such a wonderful de-stressor for this time of the year.”

After his set, Minhaj remained on campus for a private meet-and-greet with select audience members.

“We were really blown away when these alumni reached out in the summer of 2021 asking if they could help incentivize the community getting vaccinated by sponsoring a big event on campus,” said Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons. “Not only did we appreciate the support of our efforts to encourage students to consider getting fully vaccinated, but it also provided an opportunity to reward students for everything they have been through the past couple of years. It was nice for our students, faculty and staff to be able to pause for an evening at the end of the academic year with some well-deserved comedic relief.”