HIGH POINT, N.C., April 19, 2018 – Community members gathered today at High Point University’s Cottrell Amphitheater to celebrate Arbor Day amidst the campus’s 26 different gardens and 3,700 taxa of plants.
For the ninth consecutive year, HPU received the Tree Campus USA Award from the Arbor Day Foundation. First Lady Mariana Qubein has spearheaded the development of the arboretum and gardens on campus and works with student, faculty, staff and community volunteers to care for the gardens. She thanked the many volunteers and donors who support the collections on campus through their time and commitment.
Those supporters included Dr. R. Wade Markham and his wife Lois Markham, who funded the Markham Medicinal Landscape Garden, which includes various plants that currently or historically play a role in treatment of medical conditions. Also, Don and Teresa Caine, owners of Greensboro-based Camco Manufacturing, who have generously supported HPU’s new conservatory, an educational building that will include a plant display area, working greenhouse for plant research and education, an academic classroom and a restaurant.
“We’re here to celebrate Arbor Day, to enjoy our gardens, to appreciate our surroundings,” said Qubein. “Gardens provide a place of reflection and introspection, they provide a sense of community, a place of gathering. It is our responsibility on this earth to provide what God has given us and to enhance it. God gave us the power and intellect to do that and we are thankful to be our Lord’s vessel to keep this earth as He intended it to be.”
Jon Roethling, curator of the grounds, gave an update on new additions to and initiatives driven by the arboretum and gardens committee this year. Those additions include the endowment of the Steel Magnolia Collection and the addition of 104 sponsored magnolias on campus; the beginnings of renovation to the perennial gardens; the opening of the Markham Medicinal Landscape Garden near Congdon Hall, which serves the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy and Congdon School of Health Sciences; and the construction of a reflection garden beside Hayworth Chapel.
“It is always my goal to expose people to how much beauty and diversity is on this campus,” Roethling said. “As the campus has continued to grow, the tree collection has grown with it. We now have over 700 different types of trees on this campus and over 3,700 different types of plants that have been categorized and recorded on the campus.”
Alongside Qubein, Roethling and his team have also shared their passion for the environment with children at local elementary schools.
“As you may know, we add hundreds of trees to the landscape of campus each year, and we make an effort to share these trees with the community on Arbor Day,” said Qubein. “Each year, we plant a tree at a school in High Point. Jon Roethling, alongside student volunteers, planted a tree at T. Wingate Andrews High School just last month, and the faces of the students lit up as they shoveled the dirt around the tree. They will water it, care for it and see it grow as they complete their school years there.”
The growth of the gardens and arboretum has been an important part of the campus’s overall transformation, HPU President Nido Qubein told the crowd.
“HPU has gone through many turning points, and when turning points are done well, they lead to tipping points,” said President Qubein. “Here we are 13 years into our transformation, and there’s no question this university has arrived at a tipping point. Just think about it. Some 5,000 students, 118 brand new buildings, all of these expansive gardens and our arboretum. This institution is evolving and transforming itself and believes in a growth mindset. At HPU, we know a thing or two because we’ve done a thing or two, and we continue to grow because of talented faculty, outstanding staff, and engaged students who care about the world in which they reside.”
Each attendee left today’s ceremony with a complimentary Magnolia kobus plant. The presenting supporter of this year’s Arbor Day Celebration is Davey Tree. Additional support provided by Price Nursery.