In 1967, a handful of young and newly relocated faculty and staff began a holiday tradition at Nevada Southern that continues to grow today at UNLV. The Holiday Card Tree project was launched by faculty and staff who wanted to share seasonal greetings with each other, and their new community. Former foreign language professor Don Schmiedel and his wife, Grace, spearheaded the initiative.
“It began to keep faculty from feeling obligated to send cards to one another because we were all just starting off and we didn’t have a lot of money,” explains Don, who retired from UNLV in 1999. Instead, the Faculty Club would print one card recognizing all contributors, and distribute it campus wide. Holiday cards that were received in reply adorned a tree that was set up in the Moyer Student Union.
The card became a popular fixture among faculty and staff. The Club expanded its purpose to incorporate a charitable component, inviting faculty and staff to donate to student scholarships. Today, the Faculty Club Endowed Scholarship Fund tops $100,000, and more than $60,000 has been awarded to support UNLV students.
During the course of its 46-year history, notable local artists and students have had a hand in creating the card. Their unique holiday-themed designs capture the spirit of the campus and the times. The flyer inviting UNLV faculty and staff to participate in the program has remained relatively unchanged since 1972; its festive holiday tree masthead still brings smiles to its original illustrators and handlers, who remember late nights stuffing envelopes or sorting mailstops.
The Faculty Club Endowed Scholarship continues as one of UNLV’s oldest traditions and provides a remarkable testament to the spirit of giving. To discover more about the Faculty Club, please visit the Special Collections Department in the Lied Library.
To join us in celebrating all of those who have come before us and the season of giving, please visit: https://netcommunity.unlv.edu/givetoscholarships