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A Letter on the Future of the Toomer’s Trees

There have been stories all week reporting Jay Gouge’s decision on what to do when/if the Toomer’s oaks die (thanks Harvey). Last night, Auburn Vice President of Alumni Affairs, Debbie Shaw, sent out an email to all Auburn alumni giving an official update on what has happened and what will happen in the whole process.

Based off of the input from the survey you probably filled out over the holidays, new trees will be planted, but during the 3-5 years it will take for them to take root and grow in their new spot, there will be a temporary structure placed at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue for rolling. I’m interested to see what that will be and how they will protect the trees from rolling when rolling a temporary structure will be happening so closely to them. I guess we’ll learn of that in another email.

As for last night’s email, here it is:

Dear Members of the Auburn Family,

I hope you are having a wonderful new year! As always, there are many exciting things happening on the Plains.

I want to give you an update on plans to keep the tradition alive at Toomer’s Corner. University experts plan to evaluate the health of the oaks this spring. As you are aware, chances of their survival are not good. For that reason, the university is moving forward with contingency plans.

In November, President Gogue asked me to chair the Committee to Determine the Future of Rolling Toomer’s Corner, a group comprised of university experts, students and alumni, along with several key representatives from the City of Auburn. Our charge was to determine the best option for the future of rolling the corner. Many of you participated in a survey before the holidays and provided valuable input to assist our decision. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

Based on the feedback from you and the expertise of the members, the committee recommended replacing the current oaks—should they die—with one or more large trees. This option would provide the shortest pause in the tradition of rolling the trees, likely only 3-5 years. This week, President Gogue gave his approval for the plan.

As a temporary measure, the university will work with the City of Auburn to create an attractive structure that can be rolled while the roots of the new trees are established.

Many decisions must still be made in the coming months. We will continue to keep you posted on new developments through the Toomer’s Oaks website at

Thank you for your support of Auburn University.

War Eagle!

Dr. Debbie L. Shaw ’84
Vice President of Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the Auburn Alumni Association

What do you think? Do you agree with this decision?

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Stephen 01/27/2012 at 1:18 pm

Whatever happens, harvey should have to be in downtown every sunday morning after a game in a nice, burnt orange jumpsuit having to hand clean the trees, attractive rolling structure or whatever we will celebrate with… all by his lonesome. And by the grace of God we will win another National Championship while he in in jail and be forced to clean that too.


TigerEyerz13 01/27/2012 at 2:06 pm

I agree. Harvey should get a year of jail time, followed by three years probation with mandatory psychiatric counseling, during which time he has public service consisting of him caring for the trees, i.e., watering, depapering, fertilizing, etc.

Jim Crockett 01/05/2013 at 5:29 am

The trees are beyond saving and have been since the poisoning. Happy talk, teary eyed pressers and weird treatments aside, the determination of how best to reinvent this entrance to the University was a foregone conclusion to those who really understood what had happened.
The options presented were thoughtful and presented different concepts on how the next 100 years will be seen by students, employees, citizens and fans. What was not presented was a move to place the celebration back to where it started which is in the intersection of Magnolia and College. We can design a surface around the trees to prevent root damage. We can prevent individuals from climbing and breaking branches. We can’t remove the paper economically without the use of a device that does damage the trees even ever so slightly. If you don’t know already, the trees are cleaned every weekend before the next working week begins at a cost – both financial and biological.
As with your video of the fan’s funeral – the joy of tossing paper rolls means one thing – someone has to clean up the mess. I’m sure the cemetery approved of their honoring the fan prior to the rolling.
Move the football celebration back to its origins and off the trees. Put a permanent structure there designed for the celebration and roll away. Have fun because in the end that’s what this event is about.


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