The holidays have arrived and everyone at Michigan has caught the holiday spirit bug. Campus has an added feeling of joyfulness outside of its usual warmth and happiness. Lights are strung generously throughout U-M's campus and Ann Arbor, casting a warm glow that envelops you while you walk along the busy streets of downtown. And people gather for celebrations of each other and life while sharing an optimistic anticipation for the New Year.
It's a great time of the year and a special time at Michigan.
This week we had our annual Michigan Athletic Department holiday party. It's a really fun event for all of the Athletic Department team members and their families and serves as a great way to celebrate the season with our own Michigan family. With the Big House as the host venue, you can't ask for a better back drop - it's always special to be up in the Jack Roth Club overlooking the majestic Michigan football field!
At this year's party, we had the opportunity to take special holiday themed photos on the "M" of the football field to remember the night, two of Santa's reindeer greeted us at the door (yes, live reindeer!), a photo booth inside captured some of the joyous moments of the night (keep an eye out for our Michigan women's lacrosse holiday card on Facebook!) and of course some energetic dancing capped off the evening just right. While a special appearance by Santa himself was a big hit for the kids, they also enjoyed the holiday face-painting and perhaps the biggest highlight of their night was the chocolate desert fountain (well, okay it was a big hit for us adults too!) What kid (or big kid like us) wouldn't want their favorite deserts smothered in chocolate?!
But while the heart of the holidays involves celebration and merriment, it also embraces the spirit of giving and benevolence and I am thrilled that Michigan Athletics recently announced a partnership with the Special Olympics. Service and charity is certainly something we focus on at U-M all year long, but this new relationship with the Special Olympics is a timely commitment to the spirit of giving. I'm looking forward to working with aspiring young athletes and getting involved with all of the wonderful events that come from this partnership. First up ... the "WOW!" experience of the Polar Plunge! (I think for this event I might just cheer on those very brave jumpers from the sidelines!)
I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season filled with joy, cheer, laughter and love and I wish you and yours a very happy New Year. See you in 2013!