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Campus Traditions

Founded in 1947 by the Basilian Fathers, the University of St. Thomas has formed its traditions over the last 66 years of growth as Houston’s only Catholic university. Service and spiritual growth informs the character of the UST student body. The diversity of our student body provides a depth to our celebrations from a global perspective.

The Celt’s Day of Service and campus relief efforts for unexpected events like Hurricane Katrina focus on this engagement with the world as an important tradition of UST.

Celt's Day of Service

Celt’s Day of Service is a 13 year old tradition where the UST campus community can roll up their sleeves and get to work serving the greater Houston area. Through the Celt’s Day Service  all members of the Celt family are given an opportunity to truly embody the Basilian core values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge.

Spiritual Traditions

In the fall, the UST community gathers for the Mass of the Holy Spirit, in which we pray for the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit as we begin a new academic year. During Welcome Week in the fall and spring semesters, staff members in Campus Ministry offer a Blessing of the Brains outside of the Chapel of St. Basil. As the Church begins a new liturgical year in the season of Advent, we celebrate Las Posadas. This ritual commemorates the journey of the Holy Family to Bethlehem in search of a place to rest in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Every January, the University community gathers to celebrate our patronal feast day, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. In March, the Feast of St. Patrick is celebrated with a Mass and luncheon hosted by the Department of Irish Studies. We conclude the academic year with the Baccalaureate Mass celebrated on the eve of Commencement.

Social Traditions

Our diverse community enjoys meeting and welcoming one another and needs very little encouragement to gather, relax and socialize. Having fun is as simple as buying pizzas for a hall party on a Friday night. Residence Life sponsors Wonderful Wednesdays, Jello Games, dodge ball contests and Spirit Days as regular celebrations of campus life.

The campus celebrates holidays with parties like Deck the Mall at Christmas and Neewollah, UST’s annual Halloween bash. Other activities such as the Welcome Back BBQ, Mardi Gras, Festa Italiana with Italian food and music, the UST Idol talent show, the Spring Formal and the Day of Love are all festivities for the entire community to enjoy.

Deck The Mall

The annual Christmas party includes the official Christmas tree lighting, snow, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a camel.  Deck the Mall is hosted in front of the Chapel of St. Basil and includes light refreshments and hot chocolate.

Wonderful Wednesday Update

Every Wednesday is Resident Appreciation day in the Residence Halls at the University. We want to say thank you to our residents for making the UST Campus Community active and exciting! Come by at 9pm to take a break from all your studying and enjoy a free activity with light refreshments.

Mardi Gras

Donning beads and masks, the UST community celebrates the 70 year-old tradition of the Mardi Gras Scholarship Gala. The student body and faculty nominate senior year students who are scholarship recipients to serve as the King and Queen of Mardi Gras at this annual fundraising event that combines food, music and a live auction in support of UST scholarships.


An annual halloween tradition hosted by Student Activities Board (SAB) is one of UST longest standing tradition for over 50 years which is held on the Friday before Halloween.  The name is derived from the word Halloween spelled backwards. Festivities include pumpkin carving on the Thursday before during activity period and the winner will be announced the night of Neewalloh.  Neewalloh is a fun night including costume contest, food, beverages,dancing and of course a haunted house.

International Festival I-Fest

I-Fest is organized by the International Studies Society and is one of the largest events on campus. It is dedicated to the promotion of knowledge and awareness of our global community. The St. Thomas community is invited to  enjoy food and festivities from around the world including live cultural performances and dancing.

Family Weekend

Family Weekend occurs during the fall semester and is an opportunity for parents, grandparents, other family members and friends to visit their students and to learn more about the University of St. Thomas. The St. Augustine Birthday Carnival & Celebration, Sunday Mass and a brunch following Mass culminate the three-day program.