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A new campus social space celebrates the UBC tradition of grad class trees
A new campus social space celebrates the UBC tradition of grad class trees

UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 5 | May 3, 2007

Revitalized Social Space Links Campus to its Grad Roots

By Basil Waugh

A small outdoor plaza, rich with social and ceremonial significance, has been revitalized for the enjoyment of future generations at UBC.

First Graduation Tree Plaza is located behind the Geography Building, the Old Auditorium and the Mathematics Bldg. on UBC’s Vancouver campus.

“In the 60s and 70s this area was the place to think, meet and visit with fellow students and to enjoy the natural beauty of the campus,” says UBC Prof. Emeritus Peter Oberlander, former head of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.

Oberlander is Chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Campus Enhancement (PACCE), which worked with UBC Campus and Community Planning to landscape the area and remove the dumpsters that had taken over the once popular hangout in recent years.

In addition to its new benches, plants and commemorative plaque, the plaza features trees significant to the university’s history and traditions. For nearly 90 years, UBC students have celebrated congregation by planting a tree on campus, and the first of these -- two large leaf Linden trees planted by the classes of 1919 and 1920 -- are planted on the site.

Class trees from 1921 to 1930 extend from the plaza south along Mathematics Rd. to Agricultural Rd. The 13 heritage trees, initially planted on the university’s original Fairview Slopes site (now the Vancouver General Hospital), were moved to their current location following UBC’s move to Point Grey in 1925.

 “It’s a fantastic location to enjoy the sun,” says Oberlander, “in the presence of these reminders of the previous generations of alumni who have enriched our campus.”

For more information on graduation class trees, visit www.graduation.ubc.ca/history/trees.php.

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Last reviewed 02-May-2007

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