DANVILLE, KY—Cutting down trees isn't something environmentally conscious Centre president John Roush and his wife Susie are predisposed to do. But on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 27, Centre's football team, members of the track team, and college officials put down their pens and their books and picked up a hacksaw to finish removing an approximately two-century old red oak along the edge of the football field.
The red oak was a part of Centre's campus before the college came into existence. In fact, legend has it that when the first trustees in 1819 surveyed the land Centre now sits upon, they took shade under the magnificent oak.
The tree was removed because the aging limbs and trunk had become a safety hazard. Large limbs had begun to fall away even in the absence of wind or other rough weather. However, rather than discard the remains of the tree, Centre has plans for the trunk—and they all involve utilizing the wood for the College's benefit.
Dr. John Barton, a Centre trustee and talented woodworker, will use the red oak (a much sought-after wood) to build podiums for the College. A visual history of Centre will also be made from a large slice of the tree trunk. Each ring within the trunk tells the age of the tree and thus the year something significant happened at Centre. This visual history will likely be made into a wall display or a tabletop.
Says President Roush: "I know football players who played at Centre 50 years ago that remember playing under this tree and having team meetings under this tree."
The ceremonial "sawing of the tree ring" was featured in media around Central Kentucky.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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