With the cancellation of the College's annual Holiday Coffee for staff, FSC found new ways to celebrate the season of giving — organizing a fun outdoor variation of President Kerr's traditional orange toss, and distributing turkeys and holiday cookies to employees. LeeAnn Williams of the Admissions Department picks up her cookies from President Anne Kerr outside Wynee's Bistro on Dec. 17. (Photos by Jordan Weiland)
Dec 18, 2020
In mid-December of a typical year, after Florida Southern’s students and most of the faculty have left campus for their holiday break, FSC’s administrators and about 250 staff members would look forward to gathering for the College’s annual Holiday Coffee, a chance to relax and have some fun together.
The year 2020 has been anything but typical, of course.
Considering the realities of COVID-19, it was obvious that a large indoor party would be inappropriate — so FSC found new ways to share the same holiday spirit.
An announcement from President Anne Kerr detailed the first plan, to celebrate the season with the gift of a turkey or a box of cookies for all staff members to enjoy with their families. Each employee was invited to schedule a time for a drive-through pickup outside Wynee’s Bistro during the week before Christmas. This distribution of holiday goodies was greatly appreciated by all who participated.
Another memorable tradition of the Holiday Coffee was also missed: the orange toss. “The event includes a large raffle of gifts,” said Katherine Pawlak, assistant vice president of operations and director of human resources. “Among those gifts is usually a case or two of oranges.”
At a Holiday Coffee about 10 years ago, Dr. Kerr tossed an orange into the crowd. The laughter among employees encouraged additional tosses, and an annual party highlight took shape.
“The friendly game of catch and keep, or dodge, or duck, has been a staple of the event ever since,” Pawlak said.
On Dec. 15, with FSC’s Water Dome as a backdrop, Dr. Kerr took aim and sent oranges through the air toward dozens of physically distanced staffers. Although there were a few bobbles, the presidential tossing of the oranges successfully carried on as an FSC tradition.
“We all missed the party, for sure,” said FSC Provost Dr. Brad Hollingshead, “but I was so glad that we could get outside and keep the orange toss going. Plus, it was good to see that Dr. Kerr has lost nothing off of her fastball.”
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