Said to be one of the oldest trees in Wichita, Newman University lost a gem in an Aug. 3 rain and wind storm. The tall cedar tree that has towered over the west edge of Sacred Heart Hall for decades snapped, with the top half landing on the building’s roof. University officials are currently brainstorming options for salvaging the wood for a sculpture or other art enhancement on campus.
The tree is estimated to be 60 to 80 feet tall, and was supposedly among the trees planted by The Most Rev. J.J. Hennessy, former bishop of the Wichita Diocese. Bishop Hennessy lived on the site of what is now Newman University, and sold it to the university’s founders and sponsoring order The Adorers of the Blood of Christ in 1902. The Adorers established a school for boys on the site, the precursor to today’s Newman University.
The loss of the tree has been reported on the Web sites of The Wichita Eagle, KAKE 10 News, and KWCH 12 Eyewitness News. Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. was also interviewed by KWCH for a video news story.