The torch will be passed in honor of Geneva's 160th

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Passing the flame

BEAVER FALLS, PA - More than 160 people will pass a torch for approximately 12.5 miles in honor of the 160th anniversary celebration of Geneva College on Saturday, April 19. A flame will be sparked in Northwood, Ohio, where Geneva was founded, taken across Ohio and then passed by torch until it reaches the college in Beaver Falls, Penn. The flame′s journey begins at 11:30 a.m. in Northwood, is expected at the Pennsylvania border at 5 p.m. and at the college at 8:30 p.m.

The flame will be sparked in a brief ceremony at the site where Geneva College started and a memorial now stands. Participants at Northwood include Dr. W. Joseph McFarland, the oldest living president of Geneva (serving 1984-1992) with his wife Roberta; Ralph McKelvey, a fourth-generation Geneva alumnus whose grandfathers both attended Geneva when it was in Northwood; and his cousin Maribel, another fourth-generation Geneva alumna whose roots date back to Northwood.

The 160 people passing the flame from one to another include:

  • Many families, including three generations of Geneva women: a 95-year-old alumna, her daughter who is also an alumna and granddaughter who is a current student.
  • A number of faculty and staff members, including one favorite professor who will carry the torch while riding his motorcycle.
  • Geneva students, including those who volunteered to coordinate sections of the course, those running with their sports team, those walking to share Geneva pride and others who want to be part of college history.
  • Friends from the community, such as Police Chief Mic Jones, and Mayor Karl Boak with his wife Jean.
  • Beaver Falls Fire Chief Mark Stowe and two firefighters on a fire truck that will proceed with the torch down College Avenue.
  • Josh Lee, president of the Geneva Student Union, who will run the last leg of the relay and hand the torch to Geneva President Ken Smith.

All participants of the torch relay, students, alumni, friends of the college and community members are invited to attend the celebration in front of Old Main at 8:30 p.m. following after the relay.

The festivities will feature a candle-lighting ceremony to symbolically spread the light that started in Northwood. It will be followed by the singing of the Geneva Alma Mater, led by the Genevans and directed by Dr. Robert Copeland. The choir will also sing two of the college′s traditional songs, Moon on the Campus, written by Fred Filiphone as a student in 1939, and Come Genevan′s Children All, with words by Dr. Norman Carson and music by Dr. Robert Copeland.

Birthday cake will be served to those attending the ceremony. The festivities will end with fireworks presented by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale of New Castle, Penn.

"God has blessed Geneva for 160 years as we have embraced and lived out the mission to provide Christ-centered education, first in Northwood and now in Beaver Falls," says Geneva President Kenneth A. Smith. "We want to acknowledge and celebrate that blessing - and "passing the flame" with 160 people who are about the institution is a special way to do that. This should be a celebration for everyone to remember."

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).