Some are memories, others are experiences; some are homemade, and others are bought. No matter their cost, these gifts are priceless treasures. In the spirit of the holiday season, we asked students, faculty, and staff: What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received?
Sherry Deng

My brother coming home for Christmas last year has to be one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve received. He is in the Marine Corps and was stationed in Iraq, so I hadn’t seen him in a long time. So, he decided to come home and surprise my family. We had an amazing time.

-Sherry Deng ’22, civil engineering

Walter Wadiak

This story dates me slightly. Once someone gave me what seemed like a CD-ROM for some kind of Microsoft Word-type program, but when I opened up the case, three quite rare CDs by my favorite band, Belle and Sebastian, fell onto my desk.

-Walter Wadiak, assistant professor of English

Erik Sink

After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother gave me a bunch of his old clothing. My grandfather had a very unique style and liked to express himself through what he wore. I admired my grandfather for always being himself and not conforming to a stereotype, so I saw receiving his old clothes as him passing on not only his style, but his view of the importance of individuality.

-Erik Sink ’19, mathematics and economics

Omolola Dada

One of the most meaningful gifts is cooking with my mother. It’s always fun with her because I never fail to learn something new. However, it is also something that makes me feel more connected to my family and my Nigerian culture. That is one of the reasons I appreciate it most.

-Omolola Dada ‘21, neuroscience

Chuck Corsi

All year long, I enjoy watching and helping students, parents, and alums sort through the shelves and racks looking for the perfect Lafayette gift. One year, one of my staff members bought me a Lafayette sweatshirt. It’s a gift I wear with pride, especially when I consider how many Lafayette grads still reach for a faded cap, sweatshirt or other logoed garment as a source of Pard pride while they’re out in the world making a difference.

-Chuck Corsi, manager, College Store

Eli Rouse

Back when I used to play football, my mother gifted me an Antonio Brown jersey for my birthday. He is absolutely one of my favorite football players, and I model my work ethic after his. Hence, the jersey means a lot to me. I feel special when I have it on.

-Eli Rouse ’22, civil engineering

Janine Block

Growing up, our family’s nativity set was always special to me. In 2000, a few years after I was married, my parents visited Oberammergau, Germany, where they met a local family who made hand-carved and painted nativity figurines. As a Christmas gift, my parents purchased a set for both my husband and me and my brother. When they returned home, my father built us each a stable to match the one we had growing up. This set, which we keep out all year long, is one of my most treasured gifts because it reminds me of my childhood, the close loving relationship I have with my family, and my faith in Jesus Christ.

-Janine Block, assistant director, Office of Intercultural Development

Celeste Fieberg

A couple Christmases ago, one of my sisters gifted me and my other sister infinity rings to symbolize the strong and everlasting bond that we share. We now wear the rings every day to remind each other of our wonderful friendship even though we live far apart.

-Celeste Fieberg ’22, mechanical engineering and international studies

Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci

I am the very fortunate recipient of many wonderful gifts. One of the best of these was delivered two days late for my 38th birthday. After 40 weeks of stomach-churning anticipation, my daughter Julia Jane came into my world singing. Nine-and-a-half pounds, 22 inches long, all downy haired and stubborn insistence, Julia continues to be a bright light in our family 12 years later. She and her older sister, Sofia, are the best gifts I could ever wish for.

-Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, professor and head of foreign languages and literatures

Joe Jones

Throughout the year I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my family. But during the holidays, when I don’t have work and my kids and grandkids are free, I get to spend a lot time with the people who matter the most to me. That is definitely the most meaningful gift I’ve ever received.

-Joe Jones, custodian

Ren Makino

In my first year, I sent a letter from Lafayette to my great-grandmother all the way in Japan, and she replied to it with a letter encouraging me to do well in college. I felt so blessed that I was able to receive that letter because a lot of people can’t say their great-grandma wrote them.

-Ren Makino ’20, international affairs and Asian studies

Khadijah Mitchell

I have a special bond with my research students. My first semester here, Amy Boles gave me a mug with a Wawa gift card and a note that said, ‘Lafayette is lucky to have you.’ I’m saving the gift card for when my lab publishes a paper. I’m going to treat students to Wawa smoothies…One of my students was having a hard time in class and at home, and I told him he could talk to me. He did. And he gave me a Lafayette-colored pashmina scarf. I wear it for special occasions.

-Khadijah Mitchell, assistant professor of biology