Faculty, staff and students, mingle and jingle during annual holiday dinner

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Last Tuesday, on the evening before finals began, Norwich University students enjoyed their annual Sodexho Holiday Dinner. Served in the Harmon mess hall by elves sporting playful red and green hats, the meal featured elegant roast beef topped with burgundy gravy, chicken marsala, and a stuffed vegetable lasagna. The dessert line groaned under mounds of holiday candy and a festive jellyroll in the shape of a Yule log.

Every December on this special night, Norwich faculty and staff serve the students dinner. According to Dave Magida, who organized the effort, this has been a holiday tradition for about 14 years.

"It was started back when Joe Sabol was here," said Magida, "and was so successful, it has continued ever since."

The event usually draws twenty or so faculty and staff volunteers, who do everything from pour eggnog to bus tables. Among this year's helpers was Architecture Division Head Daniel Doz, who greeted students and directed them to the serving lines. Carving up roast beef were Director of Major Gifts Charley Crosby '63, Athletic Director Tony Mariano, and Assistant Commandant Russ Holden. The duo of Karlene and Ed Langley '60 served up countless gallons of eggnog and hot cider, and throughout the meal, Santa Claus, (who bore a striking resemblance to Engineering Division Head Dennis Tyner), spread holiday cheer among the student body.

VP for Student Affairs and Commandant BG Mike Kelley '74, who was volunteering for the third year in a row, believes that the annual event does more than foster feelings of good will.

"It is very important for students to get a sense of us outside of our normal day-to-day responsibilities, and this meal provides a great venue in which to do that," said Kelley.

"It was an opportunity for me as an alum to associate with the students in an informal setting," agreed Crosby. "I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing the looks on their faces when we waited on them."

Kelley added that the students aren't the only ones who benefit.

"It's also good for us as staff and faculty to be reminded that our students are why we are here. This event reinforces that," Kelley said.

"Events such as this tend to bring the campus community together," echoed Crosby.

dweggler@norwich.edu, December 2004

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