Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,

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Historical Bits

Last Friday, SArb (the UI's Student Alumni Relations Board) planted a tree honoring Doc Bitterwolf for Silver and Gold Day (they do one every year). It was a nice affair...lots of speeches (one by me), the ceremonial tree planting, and refreshments afterwards.

One of the interesting things about it was the ceremonial shovels used. Two were regular hardware store shovels painted gold, and one was a short-handled shovel with a wooden handle worn smooth, and a very heavy blade. It turns out that this is the shovel used for all ceremonial tree plantings and groundbreakings on campus, and has been so for over a hundred years. Several U.S. presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt, used this shovel to plant trees on the Admin Lawn. Doc was thrilled, of course.

Oddly, when we came out of the Commons several hours after the ceremony (there was lots of mingling and punch and cookies in there), I discovered that Facilities had come and taken away all the chairs and the podium and speakers, but the shovels had been left behind. It was 5:00 on a Friday night, so nobody was around the quad area, but the shovels were just sitting there, forlorn. Somebody dropped the ball.

So the three shovels, including the Teddy Roosevelt one, are now sitting in my office, waiting for someone from SArb to contact me. I sent them an email right away, although I must admit I briefly toyed with the idea of letting them sweat for a day or two. ^_^

Yay historical shovel!

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