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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

A crowd gathered on the lawn of the historic Thomas Gaunt House Thursday and watched the property's Black Hills Spruce tree light up during the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

A crowd gathered on the lawn of the historic Thomas Gaunt House Thursday and watched the property's Black Hills Spruce tree light up during the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. (Photos by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Dec. 5, 2014

Northwest community flips switch on holiday tree

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski and first lady, along with their dog Ruby, address a crowd gathered outside the Gaunt House Thursday for the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski and first lady Denise Jasinski, along with their dog Ruby, address a crowd gathered outside the Gaunt House Thursday for the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.

The Northwest Missouri State University community and local residents marked the beginning of the holiday season Thursday evening with the University’s sixth annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.

A crowd of more than 150 gathered on the lawn of the historic Thomas Gaunt House for the event, which included musical performances by the Horace Mann Laboratory School’s Bearcat Choir, the Maryville High School Spectrum show choir and Dr. Don Ehlers, a Northwest psychology instructor and campus minister at the Wesley Student Center.

Prior to the lighting of the Black Hills Spruce tree, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski encouraged the crowd to live the holiday season by the words of embrace, love and fun – or the acronym ELF.

“This holiday season, I ask you to pour out your love and your thoughts and your hearts,” Jasinski said. “Holidays should be fun, and we hope this ceremony provides a little bit of a smile to all of us as we think about the busy times.”

Maryville Mayor Renee Riedel, on behalf of the city, wished the gathering “a holiday season full of family, peace and love” after reciting an adaptation she composed of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and noted the popular Dr. Seuss story is a favorite her father still reads to her family each Christmas eve.

“We have had a year of unity and collaboration,” Riedel said. “While most of you finish your day at work, you donate your time to a service or community organization. We are starting to see the results of all that hard work. I’d like to say thank you, not only as the mayor of Maryville but as a citizen of Maryville.”

In conjunction with the tree lighting, Northwest and the Jasinski family annually sponsor a philanthropic effort to benefit the community. This year’s effort collected nearly 400 pounds of dog and cat food and more than $300 in monetary donations to assist the New Nodaway Humane Society.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468