Illinois State University co-founder Jesse Fell would be especially proud of the University’s latest honor–being named one of only 29 U.S. schools, and the only Illinois university, to earn the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA designation.

Fell’s vision of planting every kind of tree that would flourish in Central Illinois on the University’s grounds was furthered in 1867 when he planted 1,740 that year and 107 trees in 1868. Today, the campus has 10,000 trees and shrubs and, in 1995, Illinois State was granted status as an official arboretum.

“It is a real honor to be the first Illinois university to be given this designation,” said Michael O’Grady, director of Grounds. “It is a testament to our Fell Arboretum mission and an example of our continued efforts to support and promote environmentally sound and sustainable practices. The designation also quantifies our effort to meet Fell’s vision to provide a living, learning laboratory for our campus community.”

“We are proud to recognize the first 29 colleges and universities to be honored as a Tree Campus USA school,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “These schools have made a major commitment to protecting, caring for and adding to their campus forest, and the results of this commitment will have a lasting, positive impact not only on campus, but in the overall community.”

Tree Campus USA is modeled after the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program, which has had a powerful impact resulting in more trees and better tree care in more than 3,300 communities nationwide.

The Tree Campus USA award requires schools to establish a campus tree advisory committee, provide evidence of a campus tree-care plan, verify annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan, show involvement in an Arbor Day observance and institute a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

More information about Tree Campus USA is available at Arbor Day.