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In 1970, the University instituted an annual tradition of planting a tree to honor an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the design, planning, and maintenance of the Grounds.

This year's tree will be dedicated to the enslaved laborers who built and maintained the University from 1817 to 1865.

Although specific individuals, including: Fielding, Commodore Lewis, German, John Taylor, Aaron, Jacob, and Isabella & William Gibbons, are known by name, many others are now known only as “laborer,” “hand,” or “servant.” Still, others remain unnamed and unknown, recognized only by the sustained consequences of their dedicated efforts in weaving the complex tapestry that is the Grounds.

Placed on the upper tier of the Lawn, in front of Pavilion IV, this living memorial will serve as a prominent focal point for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to reflect on and commemorate these individuals. We can appreciate the substantial contributions of each individual when we acknowledge and consider the handcraftsmanship of landscaping, building, and maintenance techniques in the early nineteenth century.

The ceremony will take place on the Lawn, in front of Pavilion IV, on Monday, April 13 starting at 11:00 a.m. All members of the University and Charlottesville community are invited to attend. Parking will be available in the Culbreth Road Parking Garage (map).

To view this event on Facebook, please click here.


tree planting flyer



View archives of previous Tree Planting honorees here.


"Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity."
-Thomas Jefferson