Texas Tech Plants 80 Red Oaks in Memorial Circle; Class of 2006 Gift

Written by Cory Chandler

News Release
DATE: June 16, 2006
CONTACT: Cory Chandler, cory.chandler@ttu.edu
(806) 742-2136

LUBBOCK – Thanks to a generous gift from the graduating class of 2006 of Texas Tech University, Memorial Circle on campus will once again be shaded by groves of trees.

The class donated funding to purchase and plant 80 red oaks, which will be planted in the four quadrants of the circle. The oaks are a hearty species that will thrive in the West Texas climate and provide exceptional fall color.

“We are extremely grateful to this year’s graduates for this lasting gift to the Texas Tech campus,” said Theresa Bartos Drewell, associate vice chancellor of facilities planning and construction at Texas Tech University System. “These trees will grow and flourish for many years to come. They will add a welcome aesthetic touch to the pedestrian flow around Memorial Circle, eventually forming a series of outdoor rooms that will enhance the vistas as originally designed and create memorable spaces.”

As part of the tree-planting project, work crews are removing the remaining Siberian elms that formerly populated the circle. Most of the trees have been lost due to disease, winds and storms and the few that remain have lived longer than expected. Siberian elms, which were popular for public spaces in the mid ‘50s, usually live about 40 years before they begin to deteriorate.

The project continues implementation of the campus master plan approved by Texas Tech’s Board of Regents in 1997. The plan maintains the original cross-axial plan designed in 1923 by William Ward Watkins. Memorial Circle evolved from a square formed by two intersecting axes; the square’s corners were rounded to facilitate traffic once automobiles were introduced on the mainly pedestrian campus.

“Texas Tech has waited a long time for the opportunity to build upon this heritage,” Drewell said. “The students of the class of 2006, aided by the leadership of the Student Government Association, have embraced the history of the master plan and have been critical to its realization.”

Students celebrated the project with the inaugural planting of the first red oak on Arbor Day, April 28.

CONTACT: Theresa Bartos Drewell, associate vice chancellor of facilities planning and construction at Texas Tech University System, (806) 742-2116, or Theresa.drewell@ttu.edu.