Students braced the cold to walk to the president’s mansion for the Holiday Open House, hosted by University President Steven Leath and his wife Janet Leath, on Wednesday night.
The doors opened at 4 p.m. for students to walk around the house, view the holiday decorations in various rooms and enjoy some light refreshments. Steven and Janet Leath were walking around, welcoming students into their house and taking time to hear what they had to say.
Steven Leath expressed how happy he was to be able to interact with the students and let them explore his home, which he actually referred to as the people’s house.
“This event was actually my wife’s idea, but the house is so beautiful, and we think of it more as the people’s house,” Steven Leath said. “With all the modifications and improvements, we want all the students, faculty and staff to enjoy it as well."
Steven Leath said that, based on the attendance, they will probably continue hosting this event each year and begin a new tradition. He also shared one of his current favorite Christmas traditions.
“My favorite tradition is probably a real fire in the fireplace,” Steven Leath said. “It’s great to have the family gathered around the Christmas tree with a real fire."
The students who attended the event expressed appreciation for the open invitation to the home. Anna Ickes, junior in elementary education, mentioned how amazing it was to actually be in the president’s house.
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“I never knew that this house looked like this and I’m kind of shocked by it,” Ickes said. “I also got to talk to Mrs. Leath earlier, which was nice to be able to speak to them like real people."
Cole Callahan, freshman in biomedical science, and Kathleen Kelly, freshman in pre-nursing, also talked about how festive the house was and how grateful they were for this opportunity.
“It didn’t feel like Christmas, and then we walked in, and it felt like we were in a nice store,” Kelly said. “It’s all just breathtaking."
Callahan emphasized this point and how it felt great to be in a home.
“No place on campus feels like a home, and this is a home," Callahan said. "I don’t know, it makes me feel like I’m home and it’s Christmas time."
Both students said that they hope similar events happen in the future.
“I called my mom and told her I was going to the president’s house," Kelly said. "I mean, when will I get this opportunity again? I’m going."
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