Susquehanna Adds New Addition To Its Landscape
Published on October 21, 2013
Susquehanna University dedicated a new ginkgo tree on Oct. 17 in anticipation of Homecoming–Reunion Weekend held Oct. 18–20. Located along University Avenue across from the financial aid office, the sapling joins about two dozen other ginkgo trees on Susquehanna’s tree-lined campus.
The Ginkgo was chosen to represent the university’s new Susquehanna Traditions program, a comprehensive approach to the transition from being a student to becoming a member of the alumni body. Susquehanna Traditions seeks to raise awareness and understanding of the university’s mission, history and traditions; and to achieve greater student and alumni connections, institutional pride and lasting commitments to the university.
Speaking during the dedication ceremony, Professor of Biology Jack Holt called the Ginkgo “one of my very favorite trees.” He showed the audience a ginkgo fossil that is 200 million years old and compared it to a seedling, noting that the fan-shaped leaves of the modern-day Ginkgo biloba are virtually indistinguishable from their ancient ancestors.
“Ginkgoes belong to a group of plants that existed well before the dinosaurs. They are wonderful relics of a former age and a great [symbol] of the current age,” Holt said.
The Ginkgo is symbolic of Susquehanna and its many traditions, including Homecoming–Reunion Weekend. Its strength and resilience mirrors that of the university, making it a fitting family tree for the Susquehanna community. Admired throughout the world, particularly across Asia, the tree is considered “the bearer of hope” in Japan. Here at Susquehanna, we see each passing generation as a symbol of hope. Each new class of graduates embarks on life’s journey confident in their ability to collectively carry out the Susquehanna mission to achieve, lead and serve. Yet, like the ginkgoes that dot campus, Susquehannans stay rooted in this place and its people for a lifetime thanks to their shared experiences.
University President L. Jay Lemons spoke of one such experience during the dedication of the new tree. He recalled saying goodbye to a sugar maple tree a few years ago with a group of students in the Class of 2015. The tree grew near Selinsgrove Hall for more than a century, making it nearly as old as the institution itself. Lemons said each member of the group literally hugged the tree before it had to be cut down. Acts of bidding farewell to one tree and welcoming another demonstrates the Susquehanna community’s “care, stewardship and love of our landscape … a very important and valuable part of the lived experience on campus,” Lemons said.
Susquehanna consistently receives high marks among students and college guidebooks for its beautiful campus. As this new addition to the landscape grows, the university plans to light it as a welcome to Susquehannans returning for annual traditions like homecoming, which typically brings about 1,000 people back to campus.