Memorial Trees, Benches, and Landscape Improvements

Memorial Trees

There is a long history of planting trees on the UC Berkeley campus in remembrance of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. The trees are planted and maintained by UC Berkeley. The species of tree and location for planting are selected by the Campus Landscape Architect in consultation with the donor.

Memorial trees cost approximately $1,500 to $2,500, which includes installation. It may be possible to plant a single tree or several trees in a small grove. It can take several months from the initial discussions to the actual planting, and some times of year are preferred for planting new trees. No outdoor plaques are allowed under this program, but an informal record of all memorial trees is kept. The final location and size of the tree are at the discretion of the Campus Landscape Architect. The diversity of the campus as an arboretum benefits from the memorial tree program and provides beauty and a place where families and friends can return to honor a loved one.

Memorial trees are maintained with the rest of the campus landscape. If a tree is damaged beyond repair or dies, it will be removed and will not necessarily be replaced.

Dedicated Benches

UC Berkeley encourages significant donations to enhance our campus landscape. Gifts exceeding $100,000 may be recognized with a dedicated bench that includes a metal plaque. There are many dedicated benches set in natural areas of the UC Berkeley campus. They are enjoyed by students, faculty, and visitors alike. Benches typically last 15 to 20 years on the campus. Bench installations are at the discretion of the university in consultation with the Campus Landscape Architect. Locations of benches may be changed in the future as circumstances change.

Benches cost approximately $7,000 (inclusive of purchase, shipping, assembly, and site installation) plus the cost of the metal plaque. Donors of benches are also encouraged to contribute to an endowment for maintenance and repair. Some donor installations have combined both benches and trees to upgrade an entire area.

Campus Landscape Improvements

UC Berkeley in 2004 developed both a Landscape Heritage Plan and a Landscape Master Plan, documents which help guide landscape improvements and campus development. The landscape master plan detailed 29 improvement areas, some of which remain as potential philanthropic gift projects. Sponsors for major landscape projects may include individuals or groups and could be undertaken in association with building renovations. Costs for these more comprehensive renovations vary widely, from $100,000 to several million. Some of the areas remaining include:

  • Natural areas: Strawberry Creek, Observatory Hill, and Founders Rock
  • Outdoor glades: West Oval, Campanile, Faculty, Wheeler and Grinnell
  • The classical core: Mining Circle, Oppenheimer Way, West Circle, Campanile Way, Sather Road and Sproul Plaza
  • Outdoor plazas: Wheeler – Dwinnelle, Arts Quad, and University Walk
  • Campus edges: Hearst, Oxford and Bancroft

Since 2005, major landscape renovations have occurred at Sproul Plaza, Campanile Esplanade, Mining Circle, Lower Sproul, College Plaza, Piedmont Ave and Gayley Road, Observatory Hill, the memorial Cherry Trees at West Circle, and several Strawberry Creek restorations. Many of these were carried out thanks to generous donations and some – like the Cherry Tree memorial - in recognition of members of the UC Berkeley community.

Trees, benches, or complete projects can also be funded through tax-deductible philanthropic gifts.

Links to related campus policies: