Articles tagged as: century oak

January 10, 2012

Aggie Grad Turns Century Tree Acorns Into Funding Source For Aggie Scholarships

Money still doesn’t grow on trees, but a famous Aggieland tree’s acorns have produced seedlings that an enterprising Texas A&M graduate is growing with the goal of selling them to raise funds for a prestigious $100,000 scholarship at his alma mater.

The tree that produced the acorns that produced the seedlings is not just any tree. It is the Century Tree, a landmark on the Texas A&M campus and beloved by Aggies — many of whom have proposed to their future brides beneath its sprawling branches.

It’s not just Aggies who consider the tree famous. The Century Tree — or Century Oak, as it is widely known on campus — recently received “Famous Tree of Texas” designation by the Texas Forest Service.

a seedling from the century tree

Duffie is growing 500 seedlings from the Century Tree, which will fund an endowed scholarship.

The tree-growing Aggie is Andy Duffie, a 1978 Texas A&M graduate who resides in Vernon. He is growing 500 seedlings from the Century Tree and plans to sell them for $250 each (or two trees for $400) to fund a President’s Endowed Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship awarded by the university.

Duffie, who holds a marketing degree from Texas A&M, harvested 3,000 acorns from the Century Tree in October 2010. Within weeks, 500 had sprouted. Duffie plans to sell the Century Tree seedlings to fellow Aggies in the fall of 2012 when the trees will be two years old and are expected to be 6 feet tall. He estimates that proceeds from his tree sales will raise the $100,000 endowment needed to fund the Century Tree President’s Endowed Scholarship.

As Texas A&M’s premier scholarship program, each President’s Endowed Scholarship is a permanent legacy that will benefit future generations of Aggies, university officials note. The scholarships are awarded to top students who excel in both academics and leadership potential.

Century Tree growers

Duffie, right, stands with Rodney and Ann Boehm, an Aggie couple who were among the first to purchase Century Tree sprouts.

Duffie says he is confident about the future success of his project. “In my opinion, Aggies will think it’s pretty awesome to have their very own Century Tree — especially Aggie couples who were engaged under the Century Tree on campus,” he notes. “These trees will be little pieces of Aggieland growing in yards across Texas. And outstanding Texas A&M students will benefit from the scholarship proceeds forevermore.”

Duffie already has more than 200 seedlings reserved by Aggies who are eager to have their own small part of campus history. He says the trees will be delivered to an off-campus site in College Station in the fall — and possibly to sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth and West Texas.

The project’s Facebook page, Aggie Century Tree Project, shows pictures of the trees at different stages of development and includes care and planting instructions. The trees can be reserved by contacting Duffie at centurytree@aggienetwork.com.

The Century Tree is believed to be one of the first trees planted on the campus of the state’s first public institution of higher learning, which opened in 1876. Many of its branches have grown so long and become so heavy that they now rest on the ground.

The “Famous Tree of Texas” designation is reserved for “an elite group of trees that have ‘witnessed exciting times in Texas frontier history’ and are alive today,” Gretchen Riley, the program’s coordinator, said in a letter notifying Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin of the campus tree’s inclusion in the select list.

Riley, staff forester for the Texas Forest Service, which is a member of The Texas A&M University System, explained that TFS initially included 87 “famous trees” in a book published in 1970.

century-tree

The Century Tree is a Texas A&M campus landmark.

“Sadly, Texas has lost many of these historic trees to the ravages of time,” she noted. “Only 56 remain.”

The Century Tree is one of only three trees added to the registry in the past 40 years, Riley said. She added it is the only formally designated “Famous Tree of Texas” located in the heart of a campus but pointed out that another, dubbed the “Kissing Oak,” is on land owned and utilized by Texas State University in San Marcos.

For more photos of the Century Tree, visit here.

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Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662

November 18, 2011

Century Oak Given “Famous Tree of Texas” Designation By Texas Forest Service

Century Tree

The Century Tree received special designation from the Texas Forest Service, marking it as a "Famous Tree of Texas."

Aggies for decades have considered the tree famous. Now, the Texas Forest Service (TFS) agrees that the “Century Oak” in the heart of the Texas A&M University campus warrants “Famous Tree of Texas” designation.

Better known on campus as the “Century Tree,” the stately live oak dominates a large section of Texas A&M’s Academic Plaza where one of the campus’ most identifiable landmark buildings also stands.

No one knows exactly how old the tree is, but consensus is that it dates back to about 1900 — not too long after the 1876 opening of Texas A&M as the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Many of its branches have grown so long and become so heavy that they now rest on the ground.

The Century Tree has extra special meaning to hundreds of Aggies who over decades have proposed to their fiancés in the pathway that runs between some of its drooping branches. More often than not, the young man proposing to his bride-to-be is a member of the Corps of Cadets.

The “Famous Tree of Texas” designation is reserved for “an elite group of trees that have ‘witnessed exciting times in Texas frontier history’ and are alive today,” Gretchen Riley, the program’s coordinator, said in a letter notifying Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin of the campus tree’s inclusion in the select list.

Riley, staff forester for the Texas Forest Service, which is a member of The Texas A&M University System, explained that TFS initially included 87 “famous trees” in a book published in 1970.

“Sadly, Texas has lost many of these historic trees to the ravages of time,” she noted “Only 56 remain.”

The Century Tree is one of only three trees added to the registry in the past 40 years, Riley said. She added it is the only formally designated “Famous Tree of Texas” located in the heart of a campus but pointed out that another, dubbed the “Kissing Oak,” is on land owned and utilized by Texas State University in San Marcos.

Riley said photos and information about the trees in the TFS registry can be accessed here, with a picture of the Century Tree and its story soon to be added.

Century Tree

The tree has special meaning for Aggies, at it has been the site of countless marriage proposals throughout the years.

Although the Century Tree is the only tree on the Texas A&M campus with formal TFS designation, there are scores of others with special meanings to Aggies and family members and friends of deceased former students. Twelve live oaks have been plants along a thoroughfare near the Bonfire Memorial to honor the memories of the 12 Aggies who died as a result of the collapse of the bonfire stack during construction in 1999. Also, the university’s main drill field has traditionally been encircled by live oaks planted in memory of the 53 Aggies who died in combat during World War I. They were planted 90 years ago and, in 2008 university personnel replaced 25 that had died over a period of several years.

In all, more than 10,000 trees grace Texas A&M’s 5,200-acre campus — one of the largest campuses in the nation.

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Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662

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