The 101st annual Tree Of Light Ceremony

The Sam Houston State University Tree Of Light Ceremony is the school’s longest-established tradition, with the event dating back to 1921.  This year’s event was held on November 29 at 6:00pm, and marks the beginning of the holiday season for the SHSU campus.

The ceremony began with a selection from the SHSU Chorale. Next, 2022 Homecoming Queen and King, Uri-El Jackson and Braden Wright, took the stage as co-emcees to welcome everyone to the 101st Tree Of Light Ceremony. Jackson led the lighting of the vigil candles, which were to stay lit until the lighting of the tree.

After the candle lighting and another selection from the SHSU Chorale, Wright welcomed the SHSU Orange Pride Dance Team to the stage to perform a holiday number. After the performances, Dr. Michael Stevenson, SHSU Provost, went onstage to discuss the importance of the Tree of Light and its impact on the community.

“Tonight we celebrate and recognize the significance of the Tree Of Light, as the university’s oldest tradition. It has impacted this bearkat community for over 100 years,” Stevenson continued. “It was in 1938, when President Harry Estill recognized the Tree Of Light as a symbol of unwavering courage, in the face of discouragement, of cheerfulness that never frowns, and bravely maintains the beauty throughout the year.”

Dr. Stevenson then led the countdown for the official tree lighting, before Jackson introduced the Director of the Good Shepherd Mission, David Smith, to speak about the partnership between the Good Shepherd Mission and SHSU.

“The major thing about you guys is in the past year we’ve had about 1,500 volunteers from the student body helping us in our food and clothing banks, in our shelter, and in our counseling area,” Smith stated. “Because of you guys, it makes a huge impact on our community at large. Last year we gave out close to three millions pounds of food, all thanks to you guys. Thank you, and may next year be an even better year.”

Every year, SHSU donates canned goods collected from students, faculty, and staff to help the Good Shepherd Mission.

After another performance by the Orange Pride Dance Team, various student organizations were able to place their specially-made ornaments onto the tree. The event was concluded with a ceremonious rendition of Jingle Bells by the SHSU Chorale. Jackson and Wright closed out the historic ceremony, poetically saying, “Thank you all for coming to the 101st annual Tree of Light ceremony. We are all a part of Sam Houston history and this will always be a Tree of Light to remember.”

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