Christmas Tree Lighting

The Remembrance Christmas Tree Tradition Tells UM Stories

Kathy DeanNews

The Christmas tree in the foyer of Weaver Hall is more than a sign of the season at the University of Mobile.  This tree tells a story – many stories – about the University of Mobile and the men and women whose commitment and dedication to thousands of students have made this university great.

The Remembrance Tree was first introduced to campus in 1966 by Mrs. Annie Boyd Parker Weaver, wife of founding president Dr. William K. Weaver Jr. The university, then called Mobile College, was only three years old, and Mrs. Weaver felt something was needed to bring the young campus together. That idea becomes The Remembrance Tree. This Christmas symbol would be decorated with ornaments placed there by members of the college faculty and administrative staff. Over the years, additional ornaments were added to mark events in the lives of faculty and staff such as the birth of a child, the completion of a degree, an honor bestowed, or a special achievement. With Dr. Weaver’s retirement in 1984, the tradition ended.

The Remembrance Tree tradition was revived in 1989 by Dr. Audrey Eubanks, then vice president for academic affairs. Over the years, unique ornaments have made their appearance on The Remembrance Tree as faculty and staff continue to find creative ways to mark their area of expertise or service at the Christian university.

The annual Remembrance Tree lighting occurs just before students leave campus for the Thanksgiving break. Christmas music and Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits add to the festive atmosphere as students, joined by faculty and staff, decorate the tree.

The individual ornaments placed on The Remembrance Tree symbolize the individual beauty of each person created by God. When these ornaments are gathered together on a simple tree, the result is a reminder of the impact that can be made when God’s people join together for a common purpose – Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.

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