Rocky celebrates 110-year tradition of candlelight dinner

Posted at 3:00 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 17:59:40-05

BILLINGS- In January 1910, college students made the trek from downtown Billings to what is now Rocky Mountain College.

More than a century later, Rocky Mountain College held its 110th Candlelight Dinner at Prescott Hall on Thursday night.

At the first dinner, the power was out, so they ate a cold meal by candlelight to celebrate the opening of their new campus.

The tradition remembers those who were there at what was once Billings Polytechnic Institute.

Now, the dinner honors alumni and others who have contributed to Rocky over the decades.

“It’s part of the Rocky spirit to take something and make it great,” said Tyler Wiltgen, Rocky’s vice president of advancement. “Many of these historic buildings on Rocky’s campus were built by the students. They were actually paid to bring some of the sandstone down.”

That’s part of what is remembered at the candlelight dinner.

“It’s trying to capture some of that tradition and keep those memories alive,” Wiltgen said. “You can almost feel all of the people of the past who have made Rocky what it is today, their spirit alive and well in this building and around this campus.”

While the Candlelight dinner celebrates 110 years, Rocky’s roots go back 141 years to 1878 to its beginnings in Deer Lodge and Helena.

Reporting by David Jay for MTN News