The annual Candlelight Ceremony is a solemn but celebratory occasion held the night before commencement, right after sundown, to commemorate the transition of the newest graduates to Christopher Newport alumni.

Each student will light a candle from the flame of another to symbolize the knowledge and experience passed between peers, neighbors and friends. “It is a little bittersweet to be closing one chapter of my life and beginning a new one,” says Emily Caldwell (’13), President of the CNU Student Assembly, who will address the gathering. “CNU has given me lifelong friendships, memories and connections. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities during my last four years. I am excited to return to my campus as an alum and participate in the activities with my fellow graduates.”

Sarah Crouse (’13), who was chosen from among many who submitted remarks for the occasion, will address the graduates before the president of the Christopher Newport Alumni Society, Richard Charles (’92), leads an induction ceremony, where the newest alumni will receive a commemorative pin. “I saw a picture of the candlelight ceremony from years past and it looked so wonderful – it's so beautiful and exciting,” Crouse says. “CNU will never leave us, no matter where we go. This campus is full of opportunities and has prepared myself and my graduating class with everything we need for the road ahead, wherever that may take us.” She is reflective about the impact the University has had on her and her peers, an experience that has included not only enlightening classes but also rewarding experiences beyond the classroom, via internships and meaningful community service projects. And, running throughout, lasting friendships. “I know we are all going to miss CNU, but it’s comforting to think that CNU will never stop being our first home,” says Crouse.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the graduates will sing the Christopher Newport alma mater (printed below) before celebrating their newfound alumni status at a reception with President and Mrs. Trible.

Knowledge, truth, eternal wisdom,
Alma Mater we adore.
Your sons and daughters walk the pathway
Trod by those who came before.

With passion, loyalty, and courage,
We wave the silver and the blue.
Our Alma Mater shining brightly,
Hail, all hail, to CNU.

Arr. A. R. Forte