A santa hat caps the famous McGraw Tower on Sunday.

Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

A santa hat caps the famous McGraw Tower on Sunday.

December 1, 2019

Santa Hat Caps McGraw Tower

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Through a haze of sleet and snow, Cornellians who happened to look up through the storm noticed something unusual about McGraw Tower: a red Santa hat currently crowns the spire.

The hat, as of Sunday, rests – 173 feet and 161 steps up – on the pinnacle of the tower. A representative from Cornell’s emergency facilities phone line declined to comment to The Sun, and no student group or individual has yet claimed responsibility.

At 4:05 p.m. Sunday, a Cornell University Police Department officer outside McGraw Tower told The Sun that he had been sent to confirm the hat’s presence after a call came in “about ten minutes ago,” the officer said.

Studying on the sixth floor of Olin Library, a group of first year students viewing the hat expressed shock that someone could scale the tower. Hannah Master ’23 speculated that the hat might have been placed by a drone, noticing a small string dangling from the tip of the hat’s white pom-pom.

Andrew Darby ’23 thought the hat felt “festive,” while Estelle Hooper ’23 wondered how the hat would be removed, likening it to the pumpkin placed on McGraw Tower in 1997, noting that a pumpkin will rot and fall to the ground naturally.

In fact, the pumpkin sat atop the tower for five months, finally falling to the ground on March 13, 1998, when then-Provost Don M. Randel attempted to cut the gourd down.

With today’s announcement of a rare class cancelation for Monday, Master said: “Today’s just full of Christmas miracles.”