Christmas at Geneva Memories
From Members of the Geneva College Alumni Council
I attended Geneva during the days of the dinner meal being served family style in the basement of McKee Hall. That was the era of no pants being worn by women on campus. Thursday night’s dinner was dress-up night. Men wore ties and jackets and dress shoes, and women wore dresses and stockings and high heels.
Christmas dinner was on a Thursday in December. Dresses were more festive and dressier than normal. Male students were in white dress shirts. After dinner we gathered in the lounge on the first floor and the Christmas story was read. At the end of the gathering Christmas carols were sung, and a few instrumentals were enjoyed. I vividly remember one year some of us hurrying back to our rooms to study for an important economics test. In those days, the semester continued until mid-January. Christmas vacation was always spent with exams and paper deadlines hanging over our heads.
- Carolyn (Metcalfe) Mollenkopf ’62
The campus was decorated beautifully. There always seemed to be just enough snow on the ground, and we were happy to be finishing up our finals so we could revel in exchanging our excitement about going home for the holidays. But the best part was the annual formal Christmas dinner in the McKee Hall Dining Room.
Every table had a table cloth, a seasonal centerpiece and place settings. President Ed Clarke would say a few words acknowledging Christmas and the blessings we had at Geneva. Dr. J. G. Vos or Rev. John White would say a prayer blessing the menu, which seemingly always included a salad, pot roast that melted in your mouth, mashed potatoes, green beans or corn, roll, butter and the best strawberry shortcake with whipped cream—or sometimes vanilla ice cream. This was always the best meal of the year. Everyone hated getting dressed up for dinner but very few EVER missed this occasion. Still brings a smile to my face.
- Ted Kay ’71
The thing that sticks with me about Christmas at Geneva is the sense of community, the focus on the grace that the season embodies, the sharing of gifts and time with the children of the surrounding neighborhoods and with the gang in the dorm. Then there’s the beauty of the campus when it is wrapped in a blanket of snow, sparkling in the moonlight. But I must confess that at the time I was way too busy trying to get to class or the library to notice the beauty of the place. It was only later when my daughter was a student and I came to pick her up that the beauty of Geneva, the physical and the sense of community, really came back to me.
Hearing the Genevans practicing, the songs and psalms filling the air—how often did we walk by that and not really notice it? There is still a part of me that is at Geneva. In December especially, I think of Tom, Tim, Harry, Ed, Filby and others, of a time when they were my family—they still are—though years and distance separate us now. We were and still are Geneva.
- Barry Davis ’75
The most enjoyable thing about the Christmas season at Geneva is that “Jesus is the reason for the Season.” Christmas has become so commercial all over the world with gifts, decorations and Santa Claus that Geneva is a great reminder of what Christmas is all about: the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
- Crystal (Harris ’86) Arrington
I remember finals and papers. Lots of them during Christmas.
- Holly (Paine ’02) Magnuson
My favorite memory at Geneva during the Christmas season would be when it would snow. Campus looked so beautiful and it was prime snowball weather. I remember sled riding down the hill behind Clarke and having huge snowball fights at the apartments. I'll never forget when someone rolled a snowball so big that they blocked one of the RD's cars in the parking lot.
- Kelly DeFilippo ’09
Having lived in Beaver Falls for three years after college, one thing I have enjoyed about Christmas time at Geneva is that it has a sense of peacefulness. Even while in college, walking to class at night when it was dark, quiet and snowing really put me at peace. While I was at Geneva, a lot of professors took the time to have Christmas parties and to enjoy the celebration of Jesus' birth with their students. I think I learned the importance of slowing down at that time of year and being able to enjoy time and relaxation with family. Since it was the time right after the fall semester it was good to be able to go home to loved ones that I hadn't seen in a while and enjoy their company.
- Tom Pyle ’09
Christmas at Geneva meant one thing to me: The Genevans Christmas Concert. Singing (and now listening to) such beautiful music in the most beautiful building in Beaver Falls was a fantastic and awe-inspiring way to give glory to God at the beginning of the holiday season. Even though I'm not singing in the concerts anymore, it's a tradition that I hope to experience for years to come.
- Adam Shaffer ’11