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John Houck is presented a Bald Cypress seedling from the mature Theta Pond trees as a special gift for being the first donor to the Tree Tribute program. The donation was in memory of Linda Jamison. Also pictured is Caitlin Gipson, university arborist, who moderated the Arbor Day Celebration.

OSU kicks off Tree Tribute program with Arbor Day celebration, art dedication

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Oklahoma State University held a three-fold celebration of campus beauty on Arbor Day with a tree planting, the dedication of an art installation and the kick-off of the Tree Tribute program.

OSU plants a tree each year in honor of Arbor Week in Oklahoma. Students from the OSU Ferguson College of Agriculture’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management assist with the planting and service projects each year. President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis helped plant the Coral Bark Japanese Maple near Theta Pond at the ceremony last Wednesday.

The event also included the dedication of the Cowboy Family Tree Art Piece and Garden. Dale Rogers created the art piece, which stands more than 7.5 feet tall. The weathering and stainless steel piece symbolizes the importance of the campus urban forest and the Cowboy family coming together to create a green legacy for future generations to enjoy. The abstract retro piece with the “OSU” tree canopy was installed east of Theta Pond. Nick Ouellette, Facilities Management Landscape Services designer, designed the Cowboy Family Tree Garden.

Individuals who take part in the Tree Tribute program with a donation of $1,800 or more — donors and those they honor — will be recognized with their names on designated metal art tree trunks in the Cowboy Family Tree Garden. A Tree Tribute donation of $1,800 supports the overall care of the campus’ urban forest and includes the cost to plant, stake, mulch, fertilize, water and maintain one newly planted tree for up to a year to get it fully established.

OSU’s Stillwater campus, with its more than 800 acres of meticulously maintained urban forest, has been recognized as an accredited Tree Campus of Higher Education since 2011. Steve Dobbs, director of Landscape Services, said now is the perfect time to establish the new Tree Tribute program.

“Oklahoma State has long been recognized as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country,” he said. “The new program provides a lasting way to honor a loved one and have their name become part of the campus history while also playing a role in maintaining the overall campus forest.

Donations of any size are also welcome to help with upkeep of the trees on campus. More than 1,100 were damaged in October’s ice storm. Of those, 50 — some more than 75 years old — suffered such extensive damage they had to be removed entirely.

Interested in a Tree Tribute or to contribute to maintaining OSU’s trees? Email or stop by the OSU Foundation at



MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Rigsby | Public Information Officer | 405-744-9081 |

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