The holiday season brings the opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to engage in unifying celebrations at UVA. Among these traditions are Lighting of the Lawn and the President’s Holiday Open House at Carr’s Hill, with both held this year on Thursday, November 30.
Thursday afternoon, Carr’s Hill opened its doors to the community for the annual Holiday Open House. Students, staff, and faculty joined President Sullivan in singing favorite holiday tunes around the piano, with Health Systems employee Jean DePiro providing festive accompaniment. The festive music was a fitting soundtrack for the event:
UVA Dining, Virginia Catering Company, and the Fontana Bake Shop delighted guests with their gingerbread village – a gift that will stay at Carr’s Hill for several weeks before being showcased at the Hospital for the remainder of the holiday season. Guests decorated gingerbread cookies, drank hot cocoa, and cozied up to the fireplaces. As the evening drew to a close, most bundled up to walk to the Lawn for the 17th Annual Lighting of the Lawn.
This year, Lighting of the Lawn brought thousands to the Academical Village for an evening filled with song, dance, and good will. Performances from a cappella groups, musical and dance ensembles, and local middle and high school choirs filled a three-hour span prior to the illumination of the buildings on the Lawn. The tradition, which began after September 11th as a way to bring the UVA community and larger Charlottesville community together, kicks off the holiday season on Grounds, and is organized by the Class Councils and Fourth-Year Trustees, with support from many other groups. Once lit, the Lawn glows with the light of more than 11,000 LED bulbs, 2,800 feet of Christmas lights, and over 560 feet of rope lighting.
President Sullivan's remarks explained the significance of this annual event:
President Sullivan encouraged the event’s attendees to embrace this year’s theme, ‘Be the Light,’ saying, “As we come together for this celebration of light, and as we consider the challenges and moments of darkness that we’ve faced in the past year … Let’s rely on our shared values and support for one another to light our path forward.”
As the fall semester winds toward its end, with final exams and papers looming on the horizon, the celebratory nature of Thursday’s events brought welcome light and joy to the entire UVA community.
To view more photos from the Holiday Open House, please visit the President's Office Facebook page.