St. Vincent College will celebrate Arnold Palmer’s birthday in colorful fashion today, Sept. 10.
A choreographed display of 90 lit umbrellas, run by the acclaimed Pilobolus dance company and St. Vincent student volunteers, will honor the late Latrobe golfing legend just after sunset today at UPMC Field on campus, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Unity Township. The sun will set at 7:35 p.m.
In honor of what would have been Palmer’s 90th birthday this year, the Arnold Palmer organization is coordinating celebrations across the country to highlight his positive impact on the world. The legacy of Palmer, who died in 2016, continues through “Arnie’s Army,” his numerous businesses and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation.
Organizers said participating students at today’s event will be handed color-changing LED umbrellas designed by MIT, “and led through an experience of light and sound as they work together to visually manifest the beauty of cooperation. Guided by a member of Pilobolus and moving to a birds-eye view of the event projected on a large screen while music plays, participants will solve visual puzzles together and experience the elevated sense of accomplishment that occurs when ego gives way to mutual appreciation and community-wide satisfaction.”
The umbrella has been linked to Palmer for more than a half century.
After Arnold Palmer Enterprises Inc. was established in 1961, the idea for a corporate logo was hatched, according to the official Arnold Palmer website. Since then, the company logo — an open golf umbrella done in four colors, red, yellow, white and green — has been part of Palmer’s story that continues after his death.
Aside from the umbrella event at SVC, ceremonial 7 a.m. tee shots were held today at Latrobe Country Club in Unity Township and Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.
Additionally, a 400-foot-tall Ferris wheel that towers over Orlando will be illuminated in Palmer’s trademark umbrella colors today, and a day of Arnold Palmer-related programming will be featured on The Golf Channel.
“My father’s legacy is really one of inspiring people to do better and to look forward — he wasn’t a fan of looking back, as he said — and so I’m thrilled to see his birthday used as an opportunity to do that, celebrating him and the impact he continues to make via the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation,” Amy Palmer Saunders, Palmer’s daughter and chair of the Arnold Palmer companies and the Foundation, said in a news release. “We’re grateful to our donors, partners, and friends who carry forward the vision he and my mother shared, and we look forward to continuing to make a positive difference for another 90 years and beyond.”