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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

The Northwest community gathered on the lawn of the Thomas Gaunt House Thursday night for the University's annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. (Photo by Carly Hostetter/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Northwest community gathered on the lawn of the Thomas Gaunt House Thursday night for the University's annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. (Photo by Carly Hostetter/Northwest Missouri State University)

Nov. 29, 2018

Community gathers for 10th annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony

The Northwest Missouri State University community gathered Thursday night to watch the Black Hills Spruce Tree outside the campus’ historic Thomas Gaunt House illuminate with strands of colorful lights during the 10th annual Holiday Tree Lighting.

This year’s event featured remarks by Northwest Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman, Maryville Mayor Rachael Martin and Dr. Travis Dimmitt on behalf of the Campus Ministerial Alliance. The Horace Mann Laboratory School’s Bearcat Choir and the Maryville High School Illumination show choir also performed.

During her remarks, Hooyman reflected on Northwest’s culture of family and emphasis on traditions. She said the tree is a symbol of the unity, kindness, love and connections formed at Northwest.

“Tradition has a very special place in all of our hearts, and what it does is it bonds us,” Hooyman said. “It gives us a sense of belonging and it gives us memories forever and ever. The tree lighting ceremony as well as the many other events that we hold here on campus help provide us with that belongingness and those memories that we’ll take with us for years to come. Every time you walk past this tree, what I hope that it reminds you of is that there is hope, there is peace and kindness and that it will give you some comfort.”

Martin reflected on what it means to be a part of the Bearcat family and the strong partnership formed by the University and the city of Maryville.

“In this family we work together,” she said. “Northwest Missouri State University and the city of Maryville have a rich history of partnership. From our fist commencement together in 1906 to our newest symbol of commitment, the Hughes Fieldhouse. In this family we celebrate, whether it’s academic success, diversity, athletic dominance or endearing traditions like the annual tree lighting ceremony. Bearcats love few things more than each other’s company and joyful moments – even at temperatures below zero. This holiday season, I wish for you a moment to reflect on what it means to be in this family.”

People attending the ceremony were welcomed inside the Gaunt House afterward for refreshments as well as the Gaunt House patio, where Northwest’s mascot, Bobby Bearcat, was dressed in a Santa costume and sat for pictures.

In conjunction with the tree lighting, the Jasinski family annually selects a philanthropy. This year, the Jasinski family is focusing giving efforts on the University’s Pay It Forward Fund and Bearcat Food Pantry. Community members may find needed items and provide donations to the Food Pantry throughout the year by visiting www.nwmissouri.edu/studentaffairs/foodpantry/.

The historic Gaunt House, located at the south edge of campus, was built during the 1870s and serves as the presidential residence. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.


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