Sophomore Dan Vlourde removes a Christmas sign in order to put up a new branding sign on a lamp post outside John Roach Center for the Liberal Arts January 29, 2016.

A Terrific Tommie Tuesday at St. Thomas 

Tuesday, Feb. 2, promises to be one busy day at St. Thomas.

It will be the second day of the spring semester, and for students with Tuesday-Thursday schedules, it will be their first day back in classrooms and laboratories since the middle of December.

It will be Tommie Tuesday, and for many people it will be the first time in 2016 that they purposefully deck themselves out in a purple sweater, sweatshirt, scarf or tie.

And it will be Brand Day – a time for the university to pull the wraps from a project that has been under way for 16 months and to shout from the rooftops the words . . .

Oops. We’re getting ahead of ourselves. No words quite yet. Have to wait one more day.

But you can hear them and see them for the first time at high noon Tuesday in James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall on the St. Paul campus and 201-202 Opus Hall on the Minneapolis campus, when the new brand will be formally unveiled. Off campus? You can watch the event via live stream.

President Julie Sullivan will do the honors in St. Paul, assisted by her trusty sidekick Tommie. A video will be shown, singers from the Festival Choir will sing a new alma mater composed by Father Michael Joncas, the national champion St. Thomas Dance Team will perform and everyone will participate in one giant social media event.

The event will be simulcast to Opus Hall, where senior administrators and deans will join in the festivities. There is a reasonably accurate rumor that Tommie will appear simultaneously at the Minneapolis event. Cloned, perhaps? And, of course, there will be T-shirts and snacks.

Why all the attention?

It all goes back to the university’s strategic plan and one of its eight priorities, on “Enhanced Visibility and Profile.” One essential component of the priority has been to engage in a branding initiative that clearly reflects and perfectly describes the University of St. Thomas.

A branding working group of 21 community members, including administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni, has worked on the project for 16 months. Hundreds of community members participated in focus groups or attended brown bag sessions to offer their thoughts on what a St. Thomas education means to them and what it should mean for future generations.