Susquehanna Traditions

Susquehanna Traditions, symbolized by the ginkgo tree which grows on our campus, is a comprehensive approach to the transition from being a member of the student body to being a member of the alumni body. Susquehanna Traditions seeks to increase understanding and awareness of the university’s mission, history and traditions; and achieve greater student and alumni connections, institutional pride, and lifelong commitments to the university.

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About the Ginkgo

Our Family Tree, More Than Meets the Nose

The mere mention of a ginkgo tree can evoke memories of the undesirable scent produced by the seeds that seasonally dot the walkways of campus. But there is far more to this tree than meets the nose. Its longevity and resilience mirrors the strength of the Susquehanna community, and as such, could easily be called our family tree.

Branches of the Same Tree, Ever Reaching, Forever Supported

From their broad trunks to the tips of their delicate fan-shaped leaves, the Ginkgo represents the growth of each Susquehannan who passes through the hallowed halls of this great institution. Like the ginkgoes that line our campus, first-year students come to us as mere seedlings ready for planting and cultivation. As a body of learners, they grow to become individual branches of the same tree, ever reaching and forever supported by the foundation of a Susquehanna education. And just as the veins of each ginkgo leaf spread out from their stem, Susquehannans are forever connected to one another through a common mission.

Grounded in a Timeless Mission, Evolving to Meet a Changing World

Ginkgo, a unique species of trees with no close living relatives, is one of the oldest trees still growing on the planet. Its fossil history dates as far back as the Permian and Lower Jurassic Period, and by the Paleocene, the genus was reduced to a single species, Ginkgo adiantoides. Today, the genus is represented by the widely-cultivated Chinese species Ginkgo biloba, which produces leaves virtually indistinguishable from its ancient ancestor. Like the Ginkgo, Susquehanna has evolved over time, creating distinctive programs in response to an ever-changing world. Yet it has stayed true to its timeless mission of preparing students to achieve, lead and serve in a diverse, interconnected world. Its heritage continues to be reflected in the free and open exploration of ideas in a diverse community of teachers and learners committed to service and the development of individual talents.

Strong Like the Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair tree, has been known to live for 1,000 years or more. A very hardy tree, the Ginkgo is highly resistant to damage from pollution, fungi or pests. It can survive freezing temperatures, drought conditions and heavy rainfall. As you might expect, Susquehanna has also faced its share of obstacles in its long history, but it has weathered every storm with fortitude and resolve, confident in the faith and support of its extended family.

Flourishing With Steadfast Care
Despite their hardiness, the Ginkgo was once thought to be extinct, and it probably would have been if not for the Buddhist monks of northern China—and later Japan—who have cultivated the trees in temple gardens since at least 1100 AD. As the Ginkgo was cultivated by the monks of China and Japan so, too, is the Susquehanna experience nurtured by our alumni, parents, faculty and staff, and like the Ginkgo, Susquehanna blossoms with their steadfast care.

A Shared Mission to Collectively Change the World

In the East, the Ginkgo is considered a symbol of longevity, hope, resilience and peace. Along with being valued for their beauty, the trees are thought to provide protection from fire— a belief that dates back to the Tokyo earthquake of 1923 when several ginkgoes survived the resulting fire and saved a temple they surrounded. The ginkgo tree is considered “the bearer of hope” in Japan. Here at Susquehanna, we see each passing generation as a symbol of hope. Like the Ginkgo, each class helps renew hope in the potential to collectively change the world through acts of achievement, leadership and service.

Ever Reaching for Each New Opportunity
Susquehanna graduates leave campus ready to apply their liberal arts education and professional training to the world’s challenges. Much like the branches of the Ginkgo stretch toward the sky, these young men and women embark on life’s journey prepared to grow and change as they reach for each new opportunity.

Rooted in This Place for a Lifetime
Although they leave our hallowed halls to make their way in the world, students-turned alumni are assured a lasting place in the Susquehanna family, that long maroon and orange lineage that grows stronger with each new student and each passing year. Regardless of how high or how far they fly from Susquehanna, they are rooted in this place and its people through shared experiences and the lifelong connections they make here.

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