Campus, local community gather to ring in holidays with annual tree-lighting ceremony

Campus News, News

Capital’s annual tree lighting ceremony took place on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, with speakers including President Beth Paul, a visit from Santa Claus and hot cocoa. Originally, the tree lighting was scheduled for Nov. 15, but was rescheduled due to weather.

The ceremony started with opening music from Benny DiFranco and Liz Drollinger, both juniors, singing Let it Snow. Opening prayer was given by Rachel Benway, senior, president of Embrace Ministries.

President Paul gave opening remarks and welcomed students, faculty and Bexley community alike.

Kelsey Mitchell and Jack Spiller, third years and Community Engagement interns presented certificates.

Remarks were given by Sheli Rowley Mathias, Capital alum, class of 1990. Mathias talked about The Open Shelter, which provides emergency shelter for homeless in central Ohio and helps those the most in need to transition into permanent housing and better lives.

Photo by Hanna Pinkelman

Pastor Sally Padgett of the First English Lutheran Church spoke about the project headed with The Open Shelter, where coats, gloves and hats were donated by Capital students and Bexley citizens to help those in need this holiday season.

Many area businesses were involved in this project, including Jo-Ann Fabrics in Easton, Division of Academic and Student Affairs and Avondale Elementary School.

Buffy Burroughs from Avondale Elementary spoke, and then the choir of students from Avondale sang.

Jack Spiller and the crowd counted down from ten for the tree on Main Street to be lit.

Closing music was sang by the Avondale Elementary Choir as well as Benny DiFranco and Liz Drollinger.

“On campus, certainly this tradition, the lighting of the Christmas tree, is my favorite, and at home, its family,” Terry Lahm, senior associate provost, said when asked about his favorite holiday traditions.

Photo by Matt McCroskey

Jody Fournier, provost and vice president of learning, also mentioned that the tree lighting is his favorite campus holiday tradition.

“They had the kids of faculty members light the tree, and two of my kids were able to light the tree that year,” Fournier said. “At home, my dad has five siblings, and we’ll get together with all of them, even though they all live in different states, and just running around with all of my cousins, like 30 cousins.”

Photo by Matt McCroskey

Those who attended enjoyed the iceless skating rink, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa for the rest of the night.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming lighting of the menorah at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 on Renner Lawn. President Paul will host the ceremony, and there will be cider and doughnuts for those who attend!

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