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Chester M Alter Arboretum

Our History

historical photos

View more historical images of the Arboretum.


Chester M Alter spearheads a building boom and helps the campus grow from 75 to 125 acres.

1960s Professor Moras Shubert, and good friend of Chester M Alter, begins early documentation of the collection.

1965 Lady Bird Johnson plants an oak in the Harper's Humanity Garden during its dedication.

1997 Bill Besh creates the Autocad map with grid and trees were assigned grid numbers to identify their location.

1999 The Chester M Alter Arboretum is founded by Daniel L. Ritchie. 

2001 William Kurtz establishes the Edna Biggs Kurtz Chair in Botany to support the Director of the Arboretum.


Marc Hathaway is appointed to the Arboretum staff as arborist; he begins using Excel spreadsheets to replace early documentation processes.
David Christophel is appointed director.
Inventory labels are installed.

2005 The Harper Humanities Garden is redesigned.

2006 Chester M Alter passes away in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2006 at the age of 99.


Martin F. Quigley is appointed director and purchases BG-BASE.
The Alter Arboretum Pavilion is built.
100 trees are planted in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Daniels College of Business.

2012 Francesca Aguirre-Wong is appointed to Arboretum staff.
All trees are accessioned into BG-BASE.
Professor Moras Shubert passes away at age 100.


The Arboretum begins giving tree tours; the official website is launched; display labels are installed in front of 82 highlighted trees.


Accession labels begin to be installed on all the trees.


Dan's Garden featuring ponds and a Pinetum showcasing dwarf conifers opens.


Patrick Martin is appointed director.


The Arboretum collections swells to over 425 taxa as shrubs are beginning to be accessioned into the collection.