TTU Must-Do! 55th Annual Carol of Lights

Written By Katherine White

November 27, 2013


Texas Tech University is full of traditions. Some old and some new. But arguably one of the most famous traditions at the school is the annual Carol of Lights during the holiday season.


The event starts off with the Texas Tech University Combined Choirs performing selections of classic holiday songs at the Science Quadrangle. When the lighting ceremony commences, students, as well as those who came for the show, stand in awe as more than 25,000 red, white and orange lights illuminate the 13 buildings surrounding memorial circle.

2013 Carol of Lights

This year, the 55th Annual Carol of Lights will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a Carillon Concert. At 7 p.m., the Masked Rider and Horse, Saddle Tramps Torch Light Processional and High Riders will begin at the University Seal at the Broadway Entrance and follow the Luminaria Lighted Route around Memorial Circle to the Science Quadrangle. More than 20,000 Tech students and local residents attend to celebrate the Christmas season.



In the 1950s, Dr. Gene Hemmle, co-founder of the Carol of Lights, got together with a small group of students in the residence halls. They gathered at Memorial Circle to sing Christmas carols and drink hot chocolate. Officially organized in 1959, with 5,000 lights, the event was first called the Carol of Lights in 1961 with a display of 16,000 lights. The ceremony has continued every year since then (the event was cancelled in 1972 due to the university’s energy conservation policy). In 1992, the Carol of Lights received a Certificate of Registration from the State of Texas.

The Process

Carol of LightsIn late September, a team from the University Physical Plant begins securing lights on the buildings. They work daily for more than a month (in both good and bad weather!) to have the buildings ready for the celebration.

In support of RHA and TTU’s sustainability initiatives, the university is in the process of converting 20 percent of the lights each year to LED. The 2013 event should be the first that will be 100 percent LED. LED (short for light-emitting diode) bulbs are 87 percent more efficient, more durable and less likely to break in the West Texas wind.

2013 Carol of Lights Fast Facts:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 3
  • Program starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • Held at Memorial Circle (off Broadway and University Avenue)
  • 25,000 lights will illuminate 13 buildings
  • 100 percent of the lights are LED
  • It’s an event not to miss!



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