(April 29, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Arboretum celebrates 25 years, renamed for professor

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — For more than two and a half decades, one Centenary College professor has lovingly tended one of the most beautiful outdoor botanical laboratories in the south. On April 28, in front of colleagues, members of the Board of Trustees, guests, students and staff members, the arboretum was officially renamed the Dr. Ed Leuck Academic Arboretum.

Dr. Ed Leuck
Centenary College President Dr. David Rowe (L) and Dr. Ed Leuck, professor of biology, unveil the new arboretum sign April 28.

"This is what a vision looks like when it comes to maturity," said Dr. David Rowe, President of the College. "This is what life looks like when you plant the seeds and care for the saplings. This is what we should do today as an institution as we dream about 25 years from now."

The Centenary College Arboretum was established in 1984 with the backing of Mr. And Mrs. Harry Balcom and under the guidance of Dr. Leuck. The initial area was only the west-facing clay slope below the brick wall below Mickle and Hamilton Hall, chosen both for its prominent location and lack of any vegetation except for the trees themselves. The first plantings were made by Dr. Ed Leuck in the spring of 1985 utilizing the few plants commercially available. Since then, the arboretum has grown to include the area between the Hamilton Hall and the SUB, with plants added each year. The sources have largely included plants and seeds collected by Dr. Leuck.

"From the beginning the school has always given me support when it came to the arboretum," said Dr. Leuck. "It has been fun to see the outcome of our work, especially when I come to the campus on the weekends and I see people wandering around and I overhear them saying that this is a beautiful area ...then it makes it worth it. It also makes all the hard work worth it when I hear our students commenting on how beautiful and relaxing it is."

Today, the arboretum is home to more than 300 species of plant life that offers year-round education programs along with hands-on science and outdoor exploration.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.