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Founder's Day

Founders Day | Tree Planting

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

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.  Planted at a public ceremony presided over by the University President on Founder's Day, the tree is to serve as a living memorial celebrating the individual's legacy. The task of selecting the Founder's Day tree honoree, tree species and location is given to the Arboretum and Landscape Committee, who forwards this recommendation to the President's Office.

The honoree of this year's tree planting is Alexander G. Gilliam, Jr., known to all as Sandy. Sandy, is one of the longest-tenured and most beloved employees at the University of Virginia. He is one of a few people who can truly say he has lifelong ties to UVA. He comes from a family who started attending UVA in 1829, just four years after the University enrolled its first class of students.

Sandy received a B.A. in History from UVA in 1955 and later returned to Grounds for graduate work in History. Away from Charlottesville, he served in the U.S. Foreign Service in Israel, the Chad, Cameroon, and Lebanon; in the office of the Secretary of State; in the office of Virginia Governor Linwood Holton as Special Assistant; and again, in the State Department as a Deputy Assistant Secretary.

In 1975, Sandy returned to UVA to work as Special Assistant to President Hereford and continued in that role under Presidents O’Neil and Casteen. In 1991, Sandy was elected Secretary to the Board of Visitors. Although he continued as Special Assistant to the President, his principal duties were with the Board of Visitors. In May 2009, Sandy went on partial retirement and assumed a new role as the University’s History Officer and University Protocol Officer. In this position, he oversaw visits to the University by heads of state and other senior government officials and helped to prepare records on the University's history. In June 2014, at the age of 81, Sandy officially retired from the University, but he can still be seen on Grounds daily.

The tree planting ceremony will take place on the northwest side of the Rotunda (map) on Thursday, April 13, at 11:00 a.m. 

map of the ceremony's location

 

Please see the list below for a listing of all officially designated memorial trees.

Honorees of the Founder's Day Tree Planting Ceremony

Click on the names below to learn more about each officially designated tree and its respective honoree.  Names marked with an asterisk represent trees no longer living.

James Monroe        Juglans nigra- Black Walnut

Edwin A. Alderman       Quercus palustris- Pin Oak

William H. McGuffey       Fraxinus americana biltmoreana- Biltmore Ash

William Abbott Pratt       Ginkgo biloba- Maidenhair Tree

William Abbott Pratt*        Acer saccharinum- Silver Maple

William Mallet*         Fagus sylvatica purpurea- Purple Beech

George Frederick Holmes       Gymnocladus dioicus-Kentucky Coffee Tree

John Staige Davis I*       Pyrus communis- Common Pear

William Alexander Lambeth       Phellodendron amurense- Amur Corktree

Francis Harris Abbott       Acer saccharum 'Legacy'- Legacy Sugar Maple

Francis Harris Abbott       Fraxinus mmericana- White Ash

Ladley Husted       Metasequoia glyptostroboides- Dawn Redwood

Edwin Morris Betts*       Sciadopitys verticillata- Umbrella Pine

Allan Talbott Gwathmey      Fagus sylvatica ' Riversii'- Riversii Copper Beech

Green Peyton*   Pinus griffithii- Himalayan Pine

Benjamin Franklin Dewees Runk      Thuja occidentalis- Eastern Arborvitae

Walter Merritt Seward      Pinus strobus- Eastern White Pine

Walter Merritt Seward      Pinus taeda- Loblolly Pine

Frank Hartman       Acer saccharinum 'Laciniatum'- Laciniatum Cut Leaf Silver Maple

Jesse Wakefield Beams       Zelkova serrata- Village Green Zelkova

Guy Estes        Pinus palustris- Longleaf Pine

W. Ralph Singleton       Picea pungens glauca- Colorado Blue Spruce

Ben Howland       Fraxinus americana - Rosehill Ash

Mrs. Elizabeth Jeffress       Quercus michauxii- Swamp Chestnut Oak

Mr. & Mrs Frank L. Hereford   Fraxinus americana 'Autumn Purple'-Autumn Purple Ash

Dumas Malone        Paulownia tomentosa- Royal Paulownia

Wilson Walker Cowen       Magnolia virginiana- Sweetbay Magnolia

Vincent Shea        Platanus occidentalis- Sycamore

Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. O'Neil       Fraxinus americana- White Ash

Werner K. Sensbach       Quercus palustris- Pin Oak

William Odum        Liriodendron tulipifera- Tulip Poplar

Thomas Jefferson        Quercus alba- White Oak, "Jupiter"

Thomas Jefferson        Liriodendron tulipifera- Tulip Poplar, "Juno"

Mrs. Frederic W. Scott       Platanus occidentalis- Sycamore

William D. Middleton       Platanus occidentalis- Sycamore

Edgar Finley Shannon       Fraxinus pennsylvanica- Green Ash

Meade Palmer        Davidia involucrata- Dove Tree

Joseph Bosserman        Quercus phellos- Willow Oak

Harry W. Porter       Fraxinus profunda- Pumpkin Ash

Marion Lee Stuart Cochran       Stewartia monadelpha- Tall Stewartia

Frederick D. Nichols        Acer saccharum 'Majesty'- Majesty Sugar Maple

Alden Hopkins        Cornus florida 'Rubra'- Pink Flowering Dogwood (2)

Larry Steward & Jeffery Ertel        Magnolia grandiflora "Greenback"- Magnolia (2)

Ernest H. Ern        Quercus alba- White Oak

Andrew Ruppel     Quercus macrocarpa- Sawtooth Oak

Frank Hill     Quercus alba- White Oak

Hovey Dabney     Fraxinus americana- White Ash

Murray Howard     Fraxinus americana- White Ash

John Blackburn     Fraxinus americana 'Autumn Purple'- Autumn Purple White Ash

Mark E. Fletcher     Acer saccharum 'Legacy'- 'Legacy' Sugar Maple

Leonard Sandridge     Acer saccharum 'Legacy'- 'Legacy' Sugar Maple

Mario di Valmarana     Acer saccharum 'Celebration'- 'Celebration' Sugar Maple

John T. Casteen     Tilia americana- American Linden

Jay Klingel     Acer saccharum 'Legacy'- 'Legacy' Sugar Maple

UVA Enslaved Workers     Fraxinus Americana- American Ash/White Ash

Jim Murray    Tilia americana 'Redmund' - American Linden