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University Communications

Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2011

IU hopes for help from donors in quest to replace lost trees

June 13, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington has begun the process of replacing some 300 trees lost during the severe storms that swept through the campus late last month, and a familiar face is contributing to speeding up the tree-restoration effort.

Campus Tree Cleanup

IU staff remove tree debris that covered the IU Bloomington campus after a late May storm.

Print-Quality Photo

University officials announced today (June 13) that former IU Trustee Stephen L. Ferguson and his wife, Connie, have donated 150 trees to IU Bloomington, which will enable the university to begin addressing those areas of campus most heavily impacted by storm damage.

Areas sustaining the most damage were the IU Arboretum, Dunn's Woods in the Old Crescent, the north side of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), sections along the Jordan River and the Third Street corridor.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said he hopes other friends and alumni of Indiana University will join with Ferguson in the effort to plant enough trees so that in a decade or two the natural beauty of the campus will be fully restored. To that end, McRobbie and his wife, Laurie Burns McRobbie, are personally contributing funding to purchase and plant some 30 trees in a grove near Bryan House.

"Anyone who has walked through campus and viewed, first-hand, the many fallen trees knows that there is much hard work yet to be done," McRobbie said. "That is why we are so deeply grateful to Steve Ferguson for his most generous gift, which we hope will inspire others to contribute to the tree-restoration effort and ultimately help make our campus even more beautiful than it was before."

Karen Hanson, executive vice president and IU Bloomington provost, also thanked Ferguson for his generous gift.

"The woodland character of the IU Bloomington campus contributes immeasurably to its singular beauty," Hanson said. "Steve Ferguson's generous gift is very much in the spirit of Herman B Wells, IU's legendary 11th president, whose deep appreciation for and fierce protection of the campus's trees is one of his enduring legacies."

Ferguson expressed his hope "that our alumni will always insist upon retention of what IU President Herman B Wells called our 'precious islands of green and serenity,' which work in concert with the stately architecture across campus to encourage intellectual pursuits, inspire students and nurture dreams of success and accomplishment."

IU Vice President for Capital Projects and Facilities Tom Morrison called the effort to replace the trees lost during the recent storms and clean up all of the damage on campus an "enormously daunting task -- one that may take years -- but we are already making significant progress."

He added that the university welcomes additional contributions from IU alumni and friends to help cover the cost of planting new trees. The IU Foundation is organizing special fundraising efforts to contribute to the reforestation. Individuals who would like to assist can send their contributions to the Indiana University Foundation, with Bloomington Campus Tree Restoration noted on their checks, or give online at and enter Bloomington Campus Tree Restoration.

Since the severe weather storms that struck campus the week of May 23, campus grounds crews have been working steadily to remove fallen trees, eliminate the threat of falling limbs and restore safe access to walking paths.

Additionally, following an assessment of the damage caused by the storms, university officials have identified which affected areas of campus are most in need of initial tree restoration. The two areas scheduled for the first phase of tree-planting are in the IU Arboretum, which is located adjacent to the Herman B Wells Library and sustained heavy damage, particularly to old-growth trees, and near the HPER Building. A number of large maple trees fell outside the HPER Building, which left it fully exposed in some areas from the west, and fallen trees damaged the fencing on the tennis courts that are adjacent to the building.

For an earlier report of tree damage sustained at IU Bloomington, go to

In the event of future severe weather, university officials recommend visiting IU's new public safety website, available at