Join the university community for its 15th annual Christmas tree- and crèche-lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
The event also will feature music and readings to herald the holiday season. The outdoor ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. near the St. Paul campus’ landmark Summit Avenue Arches. Hot chocolate and candy canes will be served.
Thousands of outdoor Christmas lights will brighten the St. Paul campus again this year. The Nativity scene atop the university’s 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 Arches.