Morris Arboretum to honor graduating classes by planting trees

As part of a new program designed to honor Penn’s graduating seniors while also furthering the University’s sustainability efforts, the Morris Arboretum has established a new Penn tradition: planting and dedicating a tree on campus every spring in honor of the University’s graduating class. This year, the planting will take place on Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m.

tree planting

Paul Meyer, the F. Otto aas Director of the Arboretum, will join Penn students on College Green to plant a tree selected by the students and the University’s landscape architect.

Wharton alumnus Bill Hohns, sponsor of the Penn Tree Program, says it “is simple, both in its concept and execution; without significant staff cost to the University or Arboretum; and, through the placement of distinctive trees over time, can dramatically influence the appearance of the campus while building pride for each graduating class year.”

Each year, the Arboretum, in consultation with the University landscape architect, will provide the graduating class with a selection of three or four tree specimens to choose from. The Arboretum will help students select a tree that can flourish in an urban environment and will enhance the campus landscape. This year, the Class of 2011 cast votes for their tree via email, ultimately selecting a legacy sugar maple.

The new tradition has a second component. The Arboretum will either select an existing tree on its grounds, or will plant a companion tree on its grounds in honor of the graduating class.

“Over time, we believe the Penn Tree Program will significantly augment the canopy of the University campus with the placement of distinctive and unusual trees, suitable to the urban environment of Penn,” says Hohns. “We can even foresee classes during Alumni weekends distributing ‘Meet Me Under Our Tree’ campaign buttons.”

Originally published on April 21, 2011