There’s a new tree on Roanoke College’s front quad, and it has significant meaning.
Faculty, staff, students and family gathered on a chilly afternoon on Oct. 24 to honor Dr. Norman Fintel by planting a tree in his name on the front quad, near the Health Services building and across from Fintel Library.
Fintel, who was Roanoke’s president from 1975 to 1989, contributed significantly to the school’s academic and financial growth. While he was president, the College’s academic standards increased, financial aid was made available to students beyond a need-based aspect and in 1986, its Honor’s Program was established.
Money was also raised for renovations to Olin Hall and the Bast Center. Roanoke also purchased the Elizabeth Campus and the Roanoke County Courthouse.
The final project was the expansion of the College’s library, which an anonymous donor named in honor of Fintel and his wife, Jo, after the former president’s retirement.
The tree ceremony began with a speech by Roanoke President Mike Maxey and a dedication prayer by Chaplain Chris Bowen, both acknowledging Fintel’s remarkable presidency at the College.
“I have always loved trees” said Fintel during the ceremony. Being from an area in the Midwest where trees were sparse, Fintel said he always enjoyed the abundant foliage at Roanoke.
A tree now stands in his honor, along with trees for other past Roanoke presidents, including David Gring, Sabine O’Hara and Maxey.
The presidential trees are tulip poplars, and they are descendants of the original Bittle tree that was taken down this past spring for safety reasons. The baby Bittle trees are its legacy.
-By Allison Shannon ’15
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