The annual Candlelight Send-Off for graduating seniors lit up the Beauchamp Amphitheatre Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
Three years ago, the Student Alumni Association decided to change the tradition by not only welcoming new students to ACU but also to say goodbye to graduating seniors.
Samantha Adkins, assistant director of ACU Alumni Association, is in charge of coordinating several alumni organizations,including the Student Alumni Association. SAA helps in hosting alumni-related student events like the Candlelight Send-Off.
The event costs around $4,000-$5,000 dollars, which includes sounds, shirts and other things the association needs to put the candlelight devo together.
“Each year we have increased the number of seniors that attended, and so last year we had about 400 seniors,” Adkins said.
The Student Alumni Associations encourages faculty, staff, students and parents to participate in saying goodbye to all the graduating seniors.
Danielle Boyle, senior liberal studies major from Atlanta, Georgia said, “I think it’s a good way to close out our time at ACU.”
“We usually have a good turnout of parents who drive in even from out of town to participate, but last year we could have used more people to fill out the side walks,” Adkins said.
Katy Westerlage, senior speech pathology major from Fort Worth, is the current president for the Student Alumni Association and has helped for the past two years.
“I really liked working with SAA on this because it was a fun thing to start building that relationship a little more,” Westerlage said. “I think it’s going to be a good turnout, hopefully this year.”
Hannah Sims, junior social work major form Forth Worth, is vice president of the Student Alumni Association.
“I know it’s really a sentimental thing for ACU students to kind of partake in before they go out to the real world,” Sims said. “It really freaks me out that at the end of next year I will be doing it and I won’t be planning it but I will be graduating. I am excited to do that.”
This year, the ACU Alumni Association is giving away white shirts with the saying “wildcat for life” to all seniors and chose Dr. Rachel Riley to speak this year. Adkins said the shirt has become their alumni shirt because they’ve handed them out to alumni for homecoming and for encouragement to wear on Thursday’s candlelight devo.