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Maple tree planted during presidential inauguration

Among those gathering for a tree planting ceremony as part of the inauguration of Dr. Joseph Hopkins as 12th president of Campbellsville University include, from left: Zoe Scott, Dr. Jonathan Moore, Kate Cecil, Dr. Donna Hedgepath, Suzanne Hopkins and Dr. Joseph Hopkins. (Campbellsville University Photo by Michael Hodges)

By Simon Baker, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A maple tree was planted recently on Stapp Lawn along Campbellsville University’s Maple Trail as part of the inauguration of Dr. Joseph Hopkins as the 12th president of the university.

Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs, offered a moment of reflection in honor of the day on Sept. 16 and for the new president.

Hedgepath said, “This is a special occasion, which merits to me, a wonderful reason to plant a tree.”

Hedgepath said, “The Maple Trail Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony, is special because  of what it means and the beauty of it, and the history of our maples around here and on campus today.”

Kate Cecil, Student Government Association president, gave a prayer of thanks for the day, for the President and for the future of Campbellsville University.

Zoe Scott, a junior from Glasgow, Ky., provided history about the Maple Trail.

Scott said, during the administration of President Romulus Skaggs from 1918 to 1922, “Improvement was made in the landscaping of the campus, paving walks and planting shrubs and trees. Wash Tucker, G.C. Flora and Branch Sublett contributed the maple seedlings, and James Campbell Sr. supervised their planting by students.

The trees grew beautifully and became the “Maple Trail.”

Scott said, “The following poem was later dedicated to President Skaggs:

“Shaking their heads in the wayward breeze,

Sheltering the path that gleams below, Or skyward lifting their leafy arms,

Artistically the maples grow,

Sheltering a path that leads to a shrine, Sheltering all who would follow,

For some try timidly the way at first, And some go light as a swallow. Some try timidly the way at first, But bolder grow on the morrow,

Knowing the path will lead them back

Without regard or sorrow;

Lead each back to the world again

A womanly woman and a manly man,

Ready for service here or there,

Part of a whole and part of a plan.

And this the pride of the maple trail

Seeing in the green of her guardsman’s foliage,

Mine is the path that leads on

To the door of Campbellsville College;

And soon they’ll find far or near,

No other shrine of knowledge

Has a path so fair as the path that leads To the door of Campbellsville College.”

Written by Luke Creel, pupil in 1922, graduating in 1930.

Scott said, “It was also noted that Dr. D.L. Druien assisted in the care of the maples in those early years.”

Scott said, “Druien helped set out the young maples that made up the Maple Trail and saw they were properly watered.”

Scott said, “We did not lose a single one,” according to Druien

Hopkins said, “When we plant a tree, we never know who’s going to sit in the shade of that tree. Right now we’re standing in the shade of this majestic tree, one the university fought to preserve.”

He said, “We feared that the tree would be lost because of the traffic over the roots and so this system was built over the top of it.”

Hopkins said, “I would wager that pretty much everybody who’s here, who’s been a part of the Campbellsville University light, has sat in the shade of this tree.

“We never know who will sit in the shade of trees we plant. Sometimes those are real trees and sometimes those are metaphorical trees.

 “Each of you is planting every day, and we’re grateful for those seeds that are planted by faculty, staff and students but also by friends, by donors and those who stand alongside us and encourage us.”

Hopkins said the tree is a beautiful tree “that’s going to one day catch up to its brothers and sisters on either side and become that majestic maple tree.”

“It will be a part of the lore of this university because it’s a part of this Maple Trail,” he said.

Hopkins, his wife, Suzanne, Hedgepath, Cecil, Scott and Dr. Jonathan Moore, assistant professor of biology and director of the university’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest, planted the newest maple tree at Campbellsville University.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is