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    Class of 2021 Evergreen Dedicated at Scranton

    The University of Scranton dedicated a 26-foot Norway Spruce on the Dionne Campus Green as the Class of 2021 Evergreen at a ceremony on May 12. From left are: Adrianna O. Smith ’22, Student Government president, 2021-2022, a philosophy and theology double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program; Jeffrey M. Colucci Jr. ’21 Student Government president, 2020-2021, an accounting and finance double major; and Jeffrey P. Gingerich, Ph.D., acting president, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
    May 18, 2021

    The University of Scranton honored its graduating class by dedicating a 26-foot Norway Spruce on the Dionne Campus Green as the Class of 2021 Evergreen. The tree, which also serves as the University’s Christmas tree, was dedicated at a ceremony on May 12.

    University of Scranton Acting President Jeffrey P. Gingerich, Ph.D., acknowledged that the University’s administration knew the success of reopening the campus for the 2020-2021 academic year depended on the students’ willingness to follow the safety guidelines put in place because of the pandemic.

     “I have to say - the cooperation and care you have demonstrated for one another in following so many health and safety guidelines – brought us here today,” said Dr. Gingerich at the dedication ceremony. “We wanted to acknowledge in a special way the members of our graduating class, for the sacrifices made – and for the leadership demonstrated. Therefore, I am pleased to announce, the University has dedicated this Norway spruce as: The Class of 2021 Evergreen.”

    The evergreen was planted on the Dionne Campus Green last November at the direction of the then President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., to serve as a permanent Christmas tree. Fr. Pilarz also wished to have the tree named in honor of the class of 2021.

     “When I heard of this tree being planted by Father Pilarz, one of the last campus improvements he made, I thought it was such a neat idea – planting a Christmas tree in the middle of our campus that would be seen year-round and that would be the same year after year,” said Jeffrey M. Colucci Jr. ’21 Student Government president, 2020-2021, in his remarks. “He wanted this tree to be dedicated to our class – he wanted this to be our tree. He wanted us to be able to come back to campus and see this same tree as a symbol of our adaptability, wisdom, strength and resiliency.”

    Adrianna O. Smith ’22, Student Government president, 2021-2022, said in her remarks that she thinks of “Father Pilarz and the current Scranton community as the roots of the tree. We have firmly anchored our dedication and love for Scranton during the years when the tree was first planted. The tree’s branches represent the future of Scranton. This evergreen will grow and change throughout the years, just as the student body, faculty, and staff will.”

    Colucci is a double major in accounting and finance from Mahwah, New Jersey. Smith is a philosophy and theology double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program from Covington Township.

    At the ceremony, Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, read a poem by Mary Oliver, one of Father Pilarz’s favorite poets, prior to blessing the tree. Lauren S. Rivera, J.D., assistant vice president for student life and dean of students, also spoke at the ceremony.

    A recording of Class of 2021 Evergreen dedication ceremony can be seen here.

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    “When I Am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver

    When I am among the trees,
    especially the willows and the honey locust,
    equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
    they give off such hints of gladness.
    I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

    I am so distant from the hope of myself,
    in which I have goodness, and discernment,
    and never hurry through the world
    but walk slowly, and bow often.

    Around me the trees stir in their leaves
    and call out, “Stay awhile.”
    The light flows from their branches.

    And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
    “and you too have come
    into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
    with light, and to shine.”

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