Editor’s note: Thank you to the many alumni who’ve
shared memories of trees. We received far more than we could print
here, but we look forward to compiling and publishing a larger collection.
If you have a tree tale, please send it to us.
There across a broad field, backed by a glorious wood and approached
by a walk shaded by huge oaks, stretched our dream-come-true—Glassboro
Normal School. From that moment we have loved it—the great
white doorway, the imposing tower, the vast length and breadth of
our dear school. And even better—the acres and acres of ground,
the big trees…Everything so big and open and natural.
–Marian MacFarlane ’24
Inveterate as the seasons, permanent as the stars, the oaks at Glassboro
symbolize unchanging fidelity to the ever-changing world which is
our campus. They keep their perennial vigil over the work and play
encompassed in the memorable years of student life. At every approach
to the campus are stationed these towering “temples of God,”
from the President’s Walk, past Oak Hall and Laurel Hall to
the Administration Building. No campus scene is far beyond the shadow
and influence of these mighty sentinels.
–The Oak, 1941
I’m the resident tree hugger. The ginkgo has been part of
my life since I was a student—what a magnificent tree. I climbed
it to meditate. The foliage was dense, so it was private.
Dr. Sangree gave us taxonomy assignments. He was good at getting
you to wonder, creating an appetite for learning. He taught about
science and the arts and folklore. He’d ask, “How do
you know that?”
–Tom Gallia ’66, ’67
When I started in 1943, the leaves were every imaginable color.
We shuffled through them as they piled up around the buildings.
During winter the trees were barren and stately. I always thought
the campus was conducive to learning because of the trees.
–Angela Lanza Sparacino ’52
At an early date specimens of almost all the trees and plants that
would grow in this climate were planted on the campus.
Tradition has it that young maids would sit under the gingko tree
and comb their hair in hopes that a dashing and handsome man would
come into their lives.
Many of the old oak trees inspired the first writing of the “Alma
Mater,” the name of the yearbook and a dormitory.
–Rudolph M. Salati ’43
I remember how beautiful they looked in the fall. We used to go
for walks among the trees and plan our future. Trees were a nice
place to go sit under and smooch.
–Samuel A. Curcio ’41
I remember the huge oak trees in front of Bunce Hall. On Arbor Day,
we collected 10¢ each from each student in their homeroom.
With the $2.50 from each homeroom a tree was purchased and was planted
on the campus. Each Christmas, a potted evergreen tree was purchased
for Christmas Arbor Day. I believe the row of tall evergreens bordering
the railroad tracks were purchased this way.
I can remember Mr. Sangree walking around the campus with the biology
classes pointing out some of the rare specimens planted. The gingko
tree was one I remember.
–Corinne B. Somers ’33
I remember an oak on the hockey field that I climbed one evening
just to be alone for a while. A young man and his friends chose
my tree to sit under for a little private talk. Mmm, mmm, embarrassing!
I was very quiet until they left and study time was well underway
by the time I returned to my dorm.
I still love oak trees’ steady structures and orange autumn
–Phyllis C. Howery ’44
When my son, Michael, was four, we went to a Rowan doubleheader
celebrating 50 years of baseball. Alumni from 1939–1970 were
there as well as one of my favorites, Coach Wackar. Towering over
Michael, Coach asked, “Would you like to see it snow?”
Michael knew snow on a warm April day couldn’t be, but he
imagined the possibilities and said, “Yes.” With that,
Coach reached up to a flowering cherry tree and gently tugged on
a limb. There stood Michael in awe as beautiful pale pink petals
began to “snow.”
–Kathy (Chapman) Rozanski ’89
I think I’m older than most trees on the campus!
–Doug Winans ’42
In our campus, towering free
Stands our oak, majestic tree
Guardian of integrity,
Ever strong, oak tree.
Summertime, thy bounteous shade
Wintertime, gray branch displayed,
Pattern for life made clear in thee,
Long-beloved, oak tree.
–Harold F. Wilson from “The Glassboro Oak Song,”
Carlo Ricci ’43 and I worked for Pop Bougher in the Landscaping
Department. We got the job of cutting a large tree (that had been
sawn down) into smaller pieces. The tree had a diameter of about
three feet. So when Carlo and I were on the opposite ends of a two-man
manual saw we could hardly see each other. Consequently, we were
not cutting in a straight perpendicular line. Dr. Bunce came around
and directed us in performing a better cut.
–Walter A. Andruszka ’43
In 1953 I made a special, lifelong friend. She was the beautiful,
grand oak tree that stood proudly as a centurion looking over Bozorth
Hall. One day in 1985 as I walked to campus I saw a morbid sight.
The oak was in large chunks across the baseball diamond. It looked
like a graveyard. I told the workmen that she had been my friend
forever. I asked if they could cut me a slice of the trunk so I
could preserve her as a tabletop. With special treatment from a
craftsman, her surface became as smooth as silk. Pieces of bark
that had dropped off were replaced like puzzle pieces. Her rings
were counted and, unofficially, the oak was 285 years old. She now
rests on an octagonal pedestal in my home and is still breathtaking.
I’m thankful I was there that day they cut her down, for now
I have a reminder of my deeply rooted relationship with the old
–Harriet Lockwood Clevenger ’88 from “A
Deeply Rooted Relationship,” 1998
Sorry I don’t remember the trees too well. Do you really think
that with a ratio of ten women to one man I had time or cared about
–Ezio Baruffi ’49