Farewell to an Icon
After months of testing and analysis in hopes it could be saved, the oak outside Westlands, a College icon that had witnessed Sarah Lawrence’s first 75 years, was cut down the weekend after Thanksgiving. “The tree was so compromised that there was a real risk of its falling—or of a limb’s breaking off—and causing significant damage to passersby or to the building,” said Michael Rengers ’78, director of operations and facilities. “I know that there are generations of students, faculty and staff who have lived and worked near this magnificent oak tree and are as sad as I am to cut it down.”
At sunset a week before its demise, the campus community celebrated the life of the tree, which most likely pre-dated Westlands, built in 1917. Now only the memory of its graceful form remains, but the oak will find new life as a pair of benches for the Westlands terrace, as material for a sculpture class and as a student-made drum. Following College policy, two additional trees will be planted on campus, probably in the spring.