Springtime on the Bluff is a colorful season. Sunshine. Students repurposing freshly cut lawns for study. Flowering trees blossoming across campus!
For about three or four weeks each spring, a vibrant canopy display of flowering cherry trees decorates the campus – bursting forth from Waldschmidt to Tyson, Orrico to Shipstad Halls.
A visitor might think these cherry trees formed UP’s landscape since its beginnings (we welcome many, many admissions visitors in the spring), each visitor greeted at the University’s entrance with a splash of color and seeing the same pink blossoms forming a natural boundary for the Quad. The first picture we’ve found is given as a detail of campus life in the 1960 Log. There is a reference in Dr. James Covert’s, A Point of Pride: The University of Portland Story, to the flowering trees adorning the new main drive at the time of Shipstad Hall’s construction (1967). The back cover of the Spring 1996 Portland Magazine claims 1965 for the planting of these trees.
The flowering trees at the statuary group by the performing arts building likely arrived around 1973 or 1974 with the completion of Mago Hunt Center. The Campus Gardens: A Self-Guided Tour of the University of Portland Collections lists Kwanzan cherry trees at just Mago Hunt Center and the main entrance by Shipstad Hall in 1989.
But then in 1995 we commit to cherry trees in a big way, with an August 31 Beacon article about the landscaping plan for the Academic Quad announcing rows of cherry trees along the sidewalks framing the lawn from Franz Hall to the Chapel, the Commons to the Library.
These flowering trees, carefully maintained by dedicated grounds crew, appear to the delight of viewers after winter months, and most especially this year, in the midst of a pandemic.