The Class Tree
When a visitor to the Vassar campus drives through Main Gate today, she is likely to be as awed by the magnificence of the landscape as by the grandeur of Main Building, but this wasn't always the case. One of the largest buildings in the country when it was completed, (1865), Main was set on an open, treeless plain, the site of the former Dutchess County Racetrack. The first tree was planted by the class of 1868, a swamp white oak, in front of Main, thereby initiating the tradition of the Class Tree. Every class since has either planted or adopted a tree (identifiable by the bronze marker at its base), making a significant contribution to the development of the campus arboretum. Today, the arboretum comprises over 200 species and literally thousands of specimens.
Image courtesy of Archives and Special Collections