WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue’s Memorial Union filled with a distinct smell of evergreen around midday Monday.
A couple dozen of Purdue’s maintenance crew heaved a 23-year-old, 30-foot blue spruce into the hall shortly after noon on Monday.
It was Vicki and Steve Worrel’s first time seeing the tree brought into Memorial Union.
Oh, they’ve seen it standing upright a number of times, but it’s different seeing it set up, Vicki Worrel said.
The impressive tree brushed the ceiling and stands with a 15-foot girth. It was donated by Tim and Angela Phillips.The tree’s seedling was purchased by Denise Linderer Mathys and planted on what is now the Phillips’ property.
Since 1975, it’s been a community tradition of donating trees to Purdue’s Memorial Union.
Linderer Matthys’ father — Loren Dale — worked at Purdue as a carpenter in the athletic department. According to a Purdue news release, Dale and his wife, Joyce, loved Christmas.
Some students sat in their seats and watched the tree go up with their books open in their laps. But a group of about 50 gathered around the entrance way.
Lloyd and Marcia Phillips have seen Purdue install the tree a few different times.
“It’s always a sight to see,” Lloyd Phillips said.
He said he counted about 20 people tugging the tree through the Memorial Union’s doors. While it took them a hefty pull, they got it in within a few minutes.
The couple stood to the side of the entrance way watching the workers haul the 30-foot-tall tree to the upright position, but if anyone could do it, those working at an engineering school could, Marcia Phillips said.
People lined the staircase and the upper balcony to watch some of the process.
April Holajter, who works in the Purdue Alumni Office, said she came to take a few photos for their office but her son decided to tag along.
Holajter’s other two children had school so it was just her and her 4-year-old son — Sawyer.
The Purdue Christmas tree stands a little taller than her own, Holajter said with a laugh.
“It’s really neat to see it set up,” she said. “You see how much manpower it takes.”
The lighting of the tree will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and will stand decorated until Dec. 18.
Coming up in Memorial Union
Lighting ceremony: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday
Holiday performances: 10 a.m. to 2 .m. Tuesday and Wednesday
Holidays Around the World: 7-10 p.m. Wednesday in the Union North Ballroom