Answered By: Jennifer Walton Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 Views: 21
A 2011 article published by Channel 7 indicating the number of years the lighting ceremony was celebrated (21 years) - found in the NewsFiles under "Christmas Festivals".
The November 21, 1990 The Collegian - page 3 - article (upper right hand corner) indicates that this event was the first annual lighting ceremony on campus.
The December 6, 1990 The Collegian - front page - photos of the first lighting ceremony held at Bob Jones University
The November 27, 1991 issue of the Collegian. This article confirms that the 1991 event marked the second annual Christmas lighting held on campus. http://library.bju.edu:82/record=b1013839
Other information shared earlier in the research process (in response to an inquiry questioning whether 1990 was officially the first year they began the ceremony):
I am leaning toward 1990 as the first year of the Christmas lighting ceremony for the following reasons:
The fact that the 1991 lighting ceremony is indicated as the second annual - as noted in The Collegian would seem to be very accurate. Although the 1990 Collegian does not state that this particular Christmas lighting ceremony marked the first year, I noticed the story about the Christmas festival seemed very prominent on the front page of the newspaper with the headlines: "BJU Hosts Christmas Open House"
Also 1990 is the earliest date I could find in the Archives records specifically mentioning the Christmas lighting festivities
In regards to the reference to the statement (from Channel 7) that 2011 marked the 21st annual lighting ceremony: If someone were to add "21" to 1990, they would get the year 2011. This is just a guess.
I will be glad to look back to some older articles in our news files and see if perhaps the Greenville News published a story about the original Christmas lighting ceremony.