Welcome new and returning students, staff, faculty Patricia Sirek August 31, 2009 This year, three St. Thomas fall welcome events will be held Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day before undergraduate classes begin. Two more follow later this month. Mark your calendar and plan to attend the events below:March Through the Arches 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, St. Paul campus quadrangle (open to all UST students, faculty and staff)Welcome the newest St. Thomas students! New first-year, transfer and international students will gather on the Summit Avenue side of the Arches at 10:15 a.m. After a welcome from Father Dennis Dease, St. Thomas president, they will walk through the Arches to the applause of faculty, staff and students. When they graduate, they’ll walk through the Arches again on their way to commencement exercises. It’s all about tradition.Interfaith Blessing for the New School Year and Opening Picnic 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, St. Paul campus quadrangle (open to all UST students, faculty and staff)Meet on the quad near O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center for a 20-minute blessing service to mark the beginning of the new academic year. People of all faiths are welcome! A free picnic follows the ceremony. If it rains, the service moves to O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium and will be simulcast to Room 126, John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts, and the rain sites for the picnic are the Student Dining Room and the first-floor lounge in Murray-Herrick Campus Center.President’s Opening Convocation 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium, St. Paul campus (open to UST faculty and staff)Father Dease welcomes new faculty and staff and gives his annual convocation address.Opening Mass and Reception 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul campusFather Dease presides and is homilist for this liturgy to open the new school year. All are invited and welcome.Minneapolis campus Interfaith Blessing for the New School Year and Picnic 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, Schulze Grand Atrium, UST School of LawAll Minneapolis campus students, faculty and staff are invited to come together to ask for blessings on the new academic year. The St. Thomas More Chapel Choir will sing and UST faculty, staff and students will offer Islamic, Hebrew and Christian readings and intercessions. A free picnic follows.Note: University offices traditionally close during Interfaith Blessing and picnic events. Signs informing visitors of closings should be posted by Thursday, Sept. 3.