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Founders' Day to mark demise of prized Stanford oak tree

STANFORD -- Founders' Day and California Arbor Day will be joined at Stanford on Sunday, March 7, when the community commemorates university founders Leland and Jane Stanford and pays tribute to the dying oak next to their tomb.

The approximately 300-year-old diseased tree, one of Stanford's largest coast live oaks and the key landscape element next to the Stanford Family Mausoleum, will be removed in late March (see separate story).

Founders' Day, celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to the March 9 birthday of Sen. Leland Stanford, is organized by the Stanford Historical Society and the Stanford Alumni Association. The public is invited.

Activities will begin with the 10 a.m. University Public Worship service in Memorial Church, featuring President Gerhard Casper speaking on "Invectives."

Following the service, community members will join Casper and other officials in a procession to the mausoleum for tributes to the founders and recognition of the dying tree.

In keeping with the Arbor Day theme, university grounds manager Herb Fong will have on hand a 15-foot-tall, boxed oak (Quercus agrifolia) that will be planted in place of the old tree, probably in April.

In addition to Casper, speakers at the mausoleum will include Historical Society President Alf Brandin, Alumni Association President Bill Stone and Brad Budney, one of four senior class presidents. The other senior class presidents, Rosa Villagomez, Tina Hua and Jason Dicks, also will take part in the ceremonies.

Also participating will be Dean of the Chapel Robert Gregg and the Memorial Church choir, led by Gregory Wait, senior lecturer in music.

Eric Hutchinson, professor emeritus of chemistry, will serve as marshal of the procession. Behind him, students who are members of the Stanford Student Alumni Network will carry the university and school flags Hutchinson designed 25 years ago.

Two of the senior class presidents will place a red and white floral wreath, provided by the Alumni Association, at the mausoleum door. The Alumni Association also will host refreshments.

In case of rain, the procession will be eliminated, and remarks and presentation of the wreath will take place in Memorial Church. Regardless of the weather, the mausoleum will be opened until 1 p.m. for visitation.



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