Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Kelly Yordy

Third Advisor

Drew Moser


The purpose of this study was to explore the origin and impact of a popular tradition at Taylor University known as Silent Night. Through a phenomenological design, this study investigated traditions, specifically Silent Night, at a small, faith-based, liberal arts institution in the Midwest called Taylor University. The following questions guided this exploratory research: What is the student perception of the value of Silent Night? What is the personnel perception of the value of Silent Night? What are the institutional elements surrounding a successful campus tradition? Key findings from this study include an understanding of traditions defined from student and personnel perspectives, the benefits from engaging in campus traditions, the characteristics of a successful tradition, and institutional elements that set up a tradition for sustainability and success. Data collected from student and personnel interviews were divided into two main themes: descriptors and outcomes. Five subthemes emerged from the descriptors: continual, origin/history, location, timing, and transmission. Three subthemes emerged from the outcomes: community, fun, and university promotion. Based on these findings, several implications for practice and research also surfaced for higher education professionals. This research confirmed the value of campus traditions and identified institutional elements aiding their success.