More trees – especially those related to the Asian influence on landscaping – will grace the University of Cincinnati’s Uptown campus, thanks to the generosity of the region’s Asian American groups. A tree planting ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, will celebrate the contributed trees, which have been donated to mark Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month.
President Santa J. Ono, his wife Wendy Yip, and University Architect Beth McGrew will preside at the tree planting, which will be followed by a brief tea reception on level 1 of Van Wormer, immediately following the ceremony. The tree planting will take place in the green space between the University of Cincinnati fountain and Van Wormer. (Rain location is level 1 of Van Wormer).
The donation of trees began with President Ono’s investiture in April, when his family donated three cherry-blossom trees, which were planted on McMicken Commons. Dr. Ono is the son of Japanese immigrants to the United States. He is the first Asian American president of UC and one of a few Asian Americans who are presidents of a U.S. research university.
Asian American affinity groups from the Tristate area soon joined in the effort to raise money for more trees to recognize Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month during May. Groups donating to the initiative have been invited to the ceremony. They include the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), UC Chapter of the Society of Chinese-American Professors, Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society Board, Cincinnati Korean American Association, and Asian Indian groups, as well as individual, Asian American faculty and administrators at UC. These organizations want the donated trees to serve as a reminder that Asian Americans have contributed greatly to American society, despite having faced racial discrimination throughout their history in the United States. The JACL donations were made to also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese Americans who were released from World War II internment camps to Cincinnati. In addition, the trees celebrate Asian and Pacific Americans becoming part of mainstream America.
The university selected three types of trees for the initiative, according to UC Senior Planner for Landscape Design and Construction Len Thomas. They were selected in line with the university’s campus beautification plans. Each genus selected reflects the significant influence that Asian horticulture has had on the American landscape, Thomas said. The trees selected are: