Program Honors Individuals While Fostering a Greener Campus

For many years the late Bruce M. Edwards, brought his daughter, Jaimie, to campus for tailgating prior to Yellow Jacket football games. The experience was especially meaningful for Edwards, a loyal Tech fan and single parent.

Prior to his death in January at age 59, the Tech alumnus expressed a desire to have a tree on campus named in his memory. Although Edwards died before he could select his tree for naming, his daughter -- a specialist in the U.S. Army -- came to campus and found the perfect tree, very close to the area where she had tailgated with her father years before.

The story of Edwards and his daughter has inspired the Office of Development, in partnership with Tech's Capital Planning and Space Management Department, to initiate a commemorative tree planting program as part of the Campus Beautification Program. This new effort will allow individuals or groups to fund the planting of a tree to honor, celebrate, commemorate, or memorialize living or deceased alumni, family members, or friends connected with the Institute, or to commemorate a special event.

To permanently acknowledge those who have been recognized through the program, a bench will be placed near all commemorative trees, with the option of a personalized plaque. Donors will be provided with a list of tree and bench types, as well as planting locations, from which to select. The final decision will be made by Capital Planning and Space Management. A one-time gift of $10,000 is required to fund a commemorative tree and bench, ensuring the ongoing maintenance of both.

"Our Landscape Master Plan provides guidelines for tree replacement and increasing our campus canopy," says Anne Boykin-Smith, master planner in Capital Planning and Space Management. "One main objective is to enlarge the tree canopy coverage of our campus to a minimum of 55 percent. (In 2004 it was 15 percent to 18 percent.) Every year, old trees are removed due to disease, drought, or storm damage. The Campus Beautification Program is one important way that we can replace lost trees and enhance the character of Georgia Tech by providing shade and seasonal color."

Boykin-Smith said that the "List of Acceptable Trees for the Georgia Tech Campus," contained in the Landscape Master Plan, will be used for tree selection. She said that oak, hickory, ginkgo, and ash trees are slow-growing varieties that live for hundreds of years and will be planted to replace the aging canopy. These will be augmented by other ornamental trees that mature faster and are shorter-lived, providing shade, spring flowers, and a more immediate canopy.

In addition, Boykin-Smith is initiating an effort to develop a "Proposed Campus Commemorative Tree and Bench Plan" that will serve as a guide for identifying potential locations for new trees and benches.

"We hope the plan helps to promote this extraordinary program and recognize donors and their loved ones," she said.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.