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Classes of 2013 and 1963 share candlelighting ceremony
JMU Alumni Association renews a Madison tradition
By James Irwin ('06)
Sharing this Madison tradition connects graduating seniors with their alumni family.
One of Madison's oldest traditions is the candlelighting ceremony inducting graduating seniors into the alumni family. JMU candlelighting ceremonies began on campus in 1912, when, during the second commencement exercises at the State Normal & Industrial School for Women, graduating students participated in a small ceremony inducting them into the alumnae association. More than 100 years later, this simple, meaningful event celebrates the induction of nearly 4,000 students into an organization nearly as old as Madison itself.
In 2013 the JMU Alumni Association combined the graduating senior candlelighting ceremony with the Bluestone Reunions candlelighting ceremony, which annually celebrates the 50th reunion class.
Alumni office staff members worked with senior class president Meredith Wood ('13) and Bluestone Reunions co-chairs JoAnn Bogan Smith ('63) and Betty Reid Coghill Somloi ('63), to combine the senior candlelighting with the Class of 1963 dinner. "Having the Class of 2013 join with the Class of 1963 is a symbolic gesture that binds us tougher through JMU," says Smith.
Wood adds, "Being a Duke is a lifelong commitment. Sharing this special night with the Class of 1963 reminds us that no matter how far away we may travel and no matter how much time passes, we will always have both a home and a family to come back to at Madison."