Students Get Study Break at ‘Celebration of Lights’

December 8, 2008  

Attendees listen to Christmas carols at SMU's 31st-annual Celebration of Lights Sunday, Dec 7. (PHOTO BY ASHLEIGH REUTER/ THE DAILY MUSTANG)

By Jaclyn Mitchell

Students, alumni and Dallas-area families joined together Sunday nights on SMU’s Main Quad for the 31st-annual Celebration of Lights.

Student Foundation, the event’s sponsor, provided cider and hot chocolate for attendees during the Hilltop holiday tradition. Hand-held candles lit up the crowd from the fountain all the way to Dallas Hall. The gathering led by SMU Student Trustee Lamar Dowling, sang traditional Christmas songs like “Joy to The World” and “Oh, Holy Night.”

There was only one thing missing– a familiar face. Erica Pelletier, Student Foundation’s Campus Events Chair, asked the crowd to take a moment to remember, SMU alumnus Mike Miller. Miller was the first president of Student Foundation and the founder of Celebration of Lights.

In 1999, Miller formed the Celebration of Lights Endowment to help the SMU tradition to stay alive in honor of his mother. He passed away last December, and this year’s event was held in his honor.

The evening was filled with Christmas music from the Meadows Chorale accompanied by a live orchestra. President R. Gerald Turner once again read the Christmas Story from the Bible.

“Blow out your candles, and we will turn on the lights to illuminate the spirit of the season,” Pelletier said to the audience. As the crowd blew out their candles and sang “Silent Night,” over 138,000 lights were lit all over the quad.

With a performance from a soloist and a new group of Meadows dancers, the evening ended, the crowd dispersed and students got back to studying for finals.

“It is my favorite time of year on campus; it just feels like Christmas now,” senior Jessica Badger said. “I had to take a break from studying to be here one last time.”

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