Big Old Trees


"One day in late October, the trees spoke to me. On this particular day, I had driven the 10 miles from my home in Latrobe to the Sisters of Charity property on the far side of the Seton Hill campus, and had set up my lawn chair there. No one was around and it was perfectly peaceful. In front of me was a pair of gingkoes. Beyond them, oaks, maples, sycamores and elms, in various shades of copper, burgundy, salmon and yellow. I sat and gazed at them for four straight hours. During that time, the trees spoke. I can not tell you what they said. I just know that they spoke - and I understood and rejoiced."

- Sister Frances Stefano (1945 - 1992), Associate Professor of

"The trees are a symbol of SHU, you know you're there when you see the trees."

Dan Gongaware, history major

Seton Hill's trees not only renew our spirit, they also perform many ecological services, such as water recycling, air pollution reduction, erosion control and soil fertility; Seton Hill's trees provide oxygen and are a wildlife habitat. Some of the trees have special significance for classes that planted them: some trees were planed in memory of students or teachers.

Roots Run Deep

Tree Preservation Plan Ensures That Future Generations Will Be Greeted By Tree-Lined Drive

Read the Go Forward Magazine article.

The tradition of a Class Tree Planting began with the Class of 1921, three years after the college had been founded. They selected a soft silver maple to symbolize "grace, delicacy, beauty and endurance." Ever since, each class has head a tree-planting ceremony.

In 1924, Sister Mary Francesca Urnauer and her class planted the row of loose-barked London plane (sycamore) trees, which gracefully line Seton Hill Drive today.

"Beautiful, I knew I wanted to come here before I made it to the top of the hill."

- Courtney Field, business - human resources & marketing major

Seton Hill trees honor individual alumnae, family members and special friends who are gone but not forgotten. Many others have been planted by students in memory of, or in honor of, favored professors who offer up the knowledge which comes from the roots of Seton Hill University.

(Text above adapted from "Notable Trees of Seton Hill")

Seton Hill Trees - and Seton Hill Students - Star in 2014 Television Commercial