Season of Light

Danny Heitman
Dec 7, 2023

Staff members of Phi Kappa Phi’s national office ushered in the holiday season this month with a tree lighting ceremony that capped an eventful year for the Society.

During the ceremony, which took place on Nov. 27, national office staff assembled outside for several moments of reflection, a holiday sing-along, and the lighting of a special tree in Phi Kappa Phi’s garden.

The tree, now more than a dozen feet tall, has grown from a small sapling planted by national office staff on March 21, 2022 to honor Phi Kappa Phi members around the world who died in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phi Kappa Phi’s memorial tree is a pond cypress, which is known for its adaptability, resilience, and steadfastness – all qualities at the heart of the Society’s long history. The tree’s reputation for strength has been put to the test since it was planted, proving resolute through wind and storms. A big challenge arrived this summer as record heat and drought strained the Baton Rouge, La. community where Phi Kappa Phi’s national office is located.

A number of the city’s trees succumbed to the drought, and Phi Kappa Phi’s memorial tree showed signs of stress, too. But the tree has rebounded well in recent weeks, its branches greening up just in time for the holidays.

To celebrate its survival – and Phi Kappa Phi’s continuing promise in a challenging year around the world – the Society’s memorial tree was decorated with a simple strand of white lights.

Across many faith traditions and in secular life, too, light is celebrated as a gesture of hope in the winter season. Phi Kappa Phi’s brightly lit memorial tree, visible to the public, is meant to underscore the Society’s enduring legacy of scholarship and progress, an ideal that transcends hardship and loss.

Phi Kappa Phi’s holiday spirit is also evident in the reception area of the national office, which includes a tree adorned with the Society’s traditional colors of blue and gold. National office staff volunteers decorated the tree on Nov. 20.

To view the full picture album, click here.

In observance of the holidays, Phi Kappa Phi’s national office will be closed from Dec. 18, 2023 until Jan. 2, 2024. During the break, members will still be able to access Society news and services at its website,