"5-4-3-2-1!" The chant rang out over Biola’s campus Friday from the crowd of over 2,000 people in front of Crowell Music Hall and formed a solid pack stretching between the cafeteria on one side and Chase Gymnasium on the other.

The screen above the stage featured a camo-clad soldier in Afghanistan, Adam Derentz (’07)—who is on the Alumni Board, standing in bright desert sunlight. Via the wonders of technology, Adam led the crowd of students, alumni, friends and families in the traditional countdown to Biola’s 26th annual Christmas tree lighting.

Dr. Rick Bee, Senior Director of Alumni and Friends, pushed the button, and the lights circling the 50-foot fir tree glowed in the night sky. Over 400 Biola alumni attended the event, which included a sold-out “Alumni Christmas Dinner” in the cafeteria. A special alumni reception after the ceremony in the Collegium was packed out, offering opportunities for alumni to visit with professors and old friends—plus enjoy a special peppermint yoghurt blend made just for this occasion by Golden Spoon, “Biola Arctic Blast”! President Barry H. Corey was on hand to dedicate the evening in prayer and visit with alumni young and old—all here for an early celebration of Christ’s birth.

“This is better than Fashion Island,” said Karyn Ehrenffeldt of Downey, who attended with her husband, Mike. “This is Christ-centered, so it’s neat.”

For information about upcoming alumni events, visit www.biola.edu/alumni.