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Annual Holiday Coffee honors traditions

November 24, 2008

An annual celebration of community and holiday traditions for ASU students, staff, faculty, and retirees will be held 9-11 a.m., Dec. 2, in the Arizona and Ventana Ballrooms in the Memorial Union on the Tempe Campus.

Since 1955, the Holiday Coffee has served as an annual celebration of community and tradition for Arizona State University at the Tempe campus for students, faculty, staff, and retirees. The coffee is regarded as a yearly opportunity to greet friends from all segments of campus as well as old friends who return to campus for the annual event. This free event is one of the longest-running traditions at ASU and is typically held the week prior to fall semester finals.

Known as the campus community center, the Memorial Union (MU) is a fitting host location because of the numerous programs and services supporting the ASU community. The MU and catering staff has traditionally served on the planning committee coordinating invitations, decorations, refreshments and entertainment. In 2007, the event was held in tents on Hayden Lawn, displaced by the recent fire in the MU.

First called the Christmas Coffee, the name was changed to Holiday Coffee in the 1990s to reflect the diversity ASU population and to honor all cultural and religious holidays customarily celebrated this time of year.

Retirees from ASU have played a vital and active role in the Holiday Coffee. Trudy Thomas, ASU retiree and former director of the Memorial Union said, "ASU is such a wonderful place that people want to come back even when they do not work there anymore. It is nice to see many new faces at the Holiday Coffee in addition to the old friends and acquaintances."

The retirees' affection for the Holiday Coffee was especially apparent in the early 1990s when budget cuts threaten to cancel the event. The association organized a special committee resulting in the generous donation of over 800 cookies, allowing the time-honored tradition to continue.