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The Holiday Card: Among Our Oldest School Customs

Fifty years ago, a handful of young and recently moved professors and staff began a vacation custom at UNLV that continues to grow today. Among the early creators of the Holiday Card Tree task were then-professor Don Schmiedel and his other half, Grace.

“The idea was that instead of feel obligated to send a card to all your coworkers, you ‘d send out one vacation card to the Faculty Club for all,” said Don Schmiedel, who taught foreign languages up until retiring in 1999. The cards that were received embellished a tree that was set up in the Student Union.

In addition to the cards, faculty and staff would include a check to donate to trainee scholarships. The Professors Club would print one card recognizing all contributors, and disperse it campuswide.

“Loan began can be found in, and the first year there was enough to award a half of a scholarship,” Grace Schmiedel said. “In those days, that had to do with $300. The very first student to receive it was Karen Harville.” She would go on to earn a degree in biology.

That practice continues today, and over the past 5 decades dozens of students have actually gotten aid from the Faculty Personnel Vacation Card scholarship. Today, the value of the endowed fund tops $135,000.

Among this year’s three scholarship receivers, Sean Conners, 32, is a nontraditional student who went back to school after operating in hospitality management. Conners now is studying kinesiology with strategies to become a physical therapist focusing on kids’s health.

“I more than happy to be pursuing something I’m personally passionate about,” Conners, a junior, said. When he was more youthful, he was a camp therapist and a few of the children he worked with experienced juvenile diabetes. “They had physical therapists and they established really special relationships with them. Ideally I’ll have the ability to work with kids and assist them that method.”

Another 2017 recipient, Aeren Dempsey, remains in his second year studying computer science.

“To me, the scholarship is huge,” Dempsey stated. “With work and school, it manages me a bit more freedom and assurance.”

Dempsey, 22, relocated to Las Vegas from Samoa after high school. “I like it. It’s actually intellectually satisfying,” he said of his course of study. “I remain open up to new advancements in computer science, however I understand that I am in the field I want to remain in.”

Student Sarah Bame, a criminal justice senior, said that the scholarship assisted relieve her fret about the amount of student loan financial obligation she was collecting.

“Every little bit assists– specifically due to the fact that I wish to go on to pursue an advanced degree,” Bame stated. She wishes to focus on rehabilitation programs in corrections centers. “I wish to advocate for grownups to learn abilities to make re-entry more effective,” she stated.

During the course of the Professors Staff Vacation Card’s 50-year history, notable local artists, professors, and students have contributed to producing the artwork for the card. Their special holiday-themed illustrations and images catch the spirit of the school, the Southwest, and the times.

Card style has actually varied from red-capped tortoises and snow-topped cacti to images of UNLV students covered with lights. This year, senior graphic design significant Sydney Mendoza is developing an original Rebel-themed style. [https://www.unlv.edu/news/slideshows/holiday-cards-collection”> View the Holiday Card Tree slideshow.]

And some 50 years since they started the tradition, Grace and Don Schmiedel look back with fond memories.

“Those were the structure days, when things were simply starting here,” Don Schmiedel stated while the couple arranged through a few of the old holiday cards preserved at the UNLV Foundation.

“It is really excellent, this many years later, to see that the professors and personnel continue the custom of providing.”