Hundreds of tulip trees to honor Class of 2020

Hundreds of tulip trees to honor Class of 2020

Vincennes University Logo

May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – One of the best gifts we can give to future generations is trees. "He who plants a tree, plants a hope," Lucy Larcom. Vincennes University is paying tribute to the historic Class of 2020 by donating tulip trees in their honor. Students and the community will look at the trees for a lifetime and remember the Class of 2020's courage and vitality. 

VU admires and celebrates the graduating class and all students for their perseverance and strength during the coronavirus pandemic. The trees will serve as a lasting reminder and tribute of the Class of 2020's determination and spirit. Trees, like students, grow stronger and leave a lasting impact. Hope and beauty also come from planting a tree.

In partnership with the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District, VU is distributing 500 tree seedlings during a drive-through event at the VU Agricultural Center.

Susan Brocksmith, VU Agribusiness Program Chair

"Trees enhance the beauty of their surroundings and can live hundreds of years," VU Agribusiness Program Chair and Event Organizer Susan Brocksmith said. "When you plant a tree, it’s a symbol of your commitment to the environment and the beauty of the world around you that will live on far beyond your own lifetime."

Many trees were destroyed during a storm in April in Knox County. This event will help the process of replacing those trees.

Will Drews, Natural Resource Specialist

“The Knox County Soil & Water Conservation District helps landowners plant thousands of trees every year in the county for conservation purposes, like improving air and water quality, regenerating soils, increasing wildlife habitat, and more. We are excited to partner with VU to offer native tulip trees (also the state tree) to anyone interested in planting a great native tree seedling for the future,” Knox County Soil & Water Conservation District Natural Resource Specialist Will Drews said.

To show your support for the Class of 2020, please pick up and plant seedlings in their honor on Friday, May 22. The giveaway will take place from 4-7 p.m. ET at the VU Agricultural Center located along U.S. 41 at 4207 N. Purdue Road just north of Vincennes while supplies last. Appropriate social distancing will be in use.

The seedlings will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Each pickup is limited to a maximum of 10.


The tulip tree takes its name from its flowers that resemble the spring-flowering tulip bulb. Opening in late May or early June, the flowers have large bowl-shaped orange and yellow petals surrounding golden stamens.

The tulip tree provides food to many animals, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. In fall and winter, young trees are browsed by white-tailed deer and rabbits. The spring flowers provide nectar for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Seeds, maturing in summer and persisting into winter, provide food for both birds and mammals, including finches, cardinals, quail, mice, red squirrels, gray squirrels, and rabbits.

The trees have extensive historic significance. American colonists used the wood to build houses and structures in New England. U.S. President George Washington planted them at his historic home. Pioneer Daniel Boone used the wood of a tulip tree for his dugout canoe.