In 1967, a handful of young and newly relocated faculty and staff began a holiday tradition on campus that continues to grow today. 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," said Schmiedel, who retired from UNLV in 1999. Instead, the Faculty Club printed one card recognizing all contributors and distribute it campuswide. Holiday cards sent to people on campus in reply adorned a tree that was set up in the Moyer Student Union.
The card became a popular tradition 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 UNLV students.
Notable local artists and students have had a hand in creating the card over the years. 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.
To discover more about the UNLV Faculty Club, visit the special collections department in the Lied Library.