Annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony is Dec. 1 St. Thomas Newsroom November 24, 2004 The University of St. Thomas will light up the season with some 30,000 outdoor lights on the St. Paul campus. Annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony is Dec. 1 Join the St. Thomas community at the Summit Avenue arches on the St. Paul campus for the eighth annual holiday tree- and crèche-lighting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The ceremony also will feature music and readings to herald the holiday season. The outdoor ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m.; a reception follows in the first-floor lounge of Murray-Herrick Campus Center with hot chocolate and cider and cookies. Take a break from your studies or work and savor the beginning of Advent and one of the campus’ prettiest times of year. Jerry Anderley, associate vice president of facilities, estimates that there will be more than 30,000 outdoor Christmas lights on the St. Paul campus this year. The Nativity scene atop the arches has a history spanning more than 50 years. The present scene with lighted statues is a relatively recent acquisition compared to the tradition of a Christmas crèche on campus. As long ago as 1948, campus clubs erected an outdoor Nativity scene for public enjoyment. About that time, Dr. Hugo Reny, a Vienna-born assistant professor of psychology, fashioned flat, hand-painted, plywood figures that were once displayed on the quad. In 1950, a log-wall stage some eight feet high and five feet wide was constructed for the scene, which then was displayed on the veranda of Aquinas Hall. That display has since been replaced with more elaborate and lighted statues, and the Physical Plant staff erects the crèche where the entire community can see and enjoy it: on top of the landmark arches.