Why They Give

Class of 1939 Cherry Trees

UNC Greensboro in spring is like no other campus.

At its heart, on College Avenue, two rows of Japanese cherry trees come into bloom, pink and celebratory. As students and faculty return from spring break, ready to dive into the second half of the semester, these trees brighten their way – from Jackson Library to a classroom building, from residence halls to Elliot University Center, the cherry trees stand along nearly everyone’s path across campus.

Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina’s Class of 1939 gave the cherry trees in June following their graduation. These vibrant symbols of ephemerality honor the spring of UNCG – not only the present season, but also the spring of its history.

In 1939, as the campus reached its first half-century mark, the students in residence witnessed its graceful expansion. They saw the opening of the Alumnae House (now Alumni House), and the college’s enrollment break 2,000 in the 1938-39 school year. That same year, Woman’s College awarded its first honorary degree to Judge Florence E. Allen of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. New buildings sprang up, such as Weil-Winfield Residence Hall, named in 1941 for Mina Rosenthal Weil, who established several scholarships, and for Martha Elizabeth Winfield, a member of the Class of 1906 and a professor in the Department of English. Woman’s College truly came into its own in 1939, with greater opportunities for students, including summer courses in art and biology, which took place on the North Carolina coast.

While the campus and its schools and programs continually change, grow, and develop, many things remain a permanent part of the landscape and history. As spring begins, and students spend more time outdoors, the cherry trees bring renewed beauty to the grounds. Their blossoms emerge as though in praise of the students’ hard work throughout the year. They signify the start of a new season, and all that our students and future graduates have to celebrate in the warm months of spring at the close of the school year.

Walking down College Avenue through the two rows of blooming cherry trees is an essential part of the UNCG experience. The cherry blossoms have been admired and enjoyed by the campus community and visitors for nearly 80 years. Each spring they remind us of the Class of 1939 and their vision for a beautiful campus.

Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, Donor Relations


Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.

Learn More
Kristine Davidson

Kristine Davidson

Associate Vice Chancellor