Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree at Duquesne’s Christmas Ball

Hannah Rauh | Staff Writer

Students at Duquesne have the opportunity to really get into the Christmas spirit this week by attending the 39th annual Christmas Ball this coming Thursday, Dec. 5. The dance will be taking place at the Omni William Penn Hotel, which will provide a wonderful atmosphere to relax and enjoy a night of food and dancing before finals begin next week.

The Omni has plenty of old-fashioned charm, especially around Christmas time. The hotel itself was built in March 1916, costing $6 million to complete. The hotel boasts a speakeasy, a sprawling ballroom with chandeliers and ceiling to floor windows, and a beautiful dining room encircled by red velvet curtains.

The building was designed by Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry Clay Frick, and at the time was unmatched by other hotels because it had electricity and a bathroom in each guest room. Frick played an essential role in the development of the steel industry in Pittsburgh.

Students can be sure they are getting a luxurious experience when visiting for the evening, because presidents, including but not limited to Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan have all paid a visit to the hotel during their terms.

The Christmas Ball is run by the Duquesne Program Council (DPC), which coordinates events both on and off campus for students. They coordinate ticket sales and provide transportation to and from the event for students. Buses will be available at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to get to the event, and then will run from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. to return students back to campus.

“DPC does the Christmas Ball because it is a Duquesne tradition,” said Emily Krieger, events director for DPC. “It is one of the few student Duquesne traditions that is still being held each year. It is a great way for students to end the semester on a good note before finals start. Students, alumni and faculty come together to enjoy a nice holiday meal and have some fun prior to the start of winter break.”

This year marks the 39th anniversary for the Christmas Ball. It hasn’t always been held at the Omni William Penn Hotel though, for many years the dance was held at the Sheraton Hotel at Station Square. It was decided in the last year that the dance should be moved so that it was in a more convenient and accessible location for students.

Tickets for the event are $25 individually and $200 per person for a table of 10 and can be purchased in the Center for Student Involvement, located at the Student Union in room 305. The price includes dinner, dancing and transportation to and from the hotel.

Student Taylor McClure has already purchased her ticket to the Christmas Ball, and is prepared to enjoy her night out.

“The dance is right before finals and it is a good opportunity to have fun with friends before break,” McClure said.

If students are looking to get into the Christmas spirit but don’t want to attend the Christmas Ball, there is a plethora of other options to choose from, including the Holiday Cookie Decorating event at Hogan Dining Hall on Dec. 5. Also, Duquesne is sponsoring an ice-skating night this coming Sunday, Dec. 8 at the PPG ice rink.

No matter what event, students should definitely try to get involved with some holiday themed activities before it’s time to go home again for break.