Alumni House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

USNA Alumni Association Tree Lighting On 27 November, the city lights of Annapolis  received a little extra twinkle from the branches of a well-known and cherished 70-foot-tall deodar cedar. This year marked (at least) the 54th year the majestic tree, rooted in the front yard of historic Ogle Hall (Alumni House), was lit to celebrate the approaching holiday season at the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association headquarters.

The USNA Alumni Association and Foundation in partnership with the USNA's Midshipmen Action Group will also collect toys for the Toys for Tots program.

No one is quite sure when the tree was planted and by whom. Turn-of-the-century photos of Alumni House show the building with a circular driveway and no tree in front of it. Over the years, the tree not only has been decorated with lights but also with red plastic balls. In the 1960s, someone had to climb the tree and place the strings of lights around it.

During the 1980s, a security guard was hired to "protect" the tree in the evening hours from vandals who pulled off the lights and smashed them in the street. Owls were also placed high in the tree to scare away the birds. The only real damage that the tree sustained has been a snow storm which broke off one section of the branches and the "sap sucker birds" which peck at the tree.

The 80+ year old tree is now illuminated by the Davey Tree Expert Company using a “cherry picker”. The extensive process takes approximately eight hours to complete with the fully decorated tree boasting a colored light bulb every 12 inches.

The beautiful shining tree serves not only as a holiday gift to the Alumni Association’s neighbors and the City of Annapolis, but to all alumni, parents, midshipmen and friends.