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About the Ginkgo

the Ginkgo

Walk north on the winding path from Stockham to Munger Memorial Hall any sunny afternoon in fall and you will find a scene that lives in the memory of thousands of Birmingham-Southern graduates—our two golden ginkgoes shimmering against a bold blue sky. The ginkgo tree holds a spot of special honor on the Birmingham-Southern campus, and not for its simple beauty alone.

Darwin called the ginkgo "a living fossil." Ginkgo biloba, the graceful ornamental we know, is the only remaining species of a venerable genus that flourished with the dinosaurs. The ginkgo is said to be the oldest living seed-bearing plant, and, as such, it has become a symbol of longevity and of hope.

At Birmingham-Southern, our own beloved pair of ginkgoes have been part of the landscape for decades, bearing fruit, providing shade, brightening the skyline with fall and spring color, and passing into local legend. Members of the ’Southern community like to reminisce about the late Dr. John Strohl, a chemistry professor who started dozens of seedlings from our trees and passed them along, becoming our own academic "Johnny Appleseed."

Rooted deep near Munger Hall, these ginkgoes are part of our past and of our future. It seems fitting, then, that the ginkgo—our ginkgoes—should be a symbol of appreciation for that dedication. They grace the Hilltop and represent enduring qualities of generations of Birmingham-Southern alumni—the loyalty and generosity that nurture the continuing mission of our college and assure its success in an uncertain future.

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