Oklahoma Baptist University hosted a tree planting ceremony Wednesday, March 28, in observation of Arbor Day 2018. Members of the OBU community joined together to plant a Taylor juniper seedling in front of Taylor Residence Hall.

The ceremony comes in the wake of OBU’s recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2017 Tree Campus USA. The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

In late 2017, OBU was also awarded a level II accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. OBU is the only accredited institution within the state of Oklahoma.

Dale Griffin, assistant vice president for spiritual life and dean of the chapel, led the opening prayer.

OBU President Dr. David Whitlock then reflected on the significance of OBU’s vision for a beautiful campus.

“Since 2009, achieving status as a nationally accredited arboretum was a major goal,” he said. “But it wasn’t just for the sake of having an accredited arboretum. It was for the sake of campus beautification and to meet a core value of OBU, which is excellence.

“Having excellence in our grounds and excellence in campus beauty is important because it says something about who we are as a University. It attracts students, it attracts faculty and it attracts staff. It’s a good thing to celebrate.”

Tom Terry, vice president for business affairs emeritus and former university archivist, then shared about the history of Arbor Day and its significance within our communities.

Lisa Hair, groundskeeper and gardener with OBU facilities management, concluded the ceremony by walking the audience through the planting of the Taylor juniper seedling.