New mural at Birmingham-Southern College pays tribute to school symbol (PHOTOS)


Students in front of mural
Claire LeSar and Aaron Beane are the current co-presidents of BSC’s Art Students League. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

If you’ve ever been on Birmingham-Southern College’s campus, you know it’s beautiful. All red brick and greenery—and in the fall, it’s even more stunning.

Several art students at BSC created a mural on campus that represents one of the school’s most beloved symbols—keep reading to check it out!

The Ginkgo is Significant to BSC’s History

I picked the perfect time of year to go see the trees—the whole area looked like it was covered in gold snow. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

The twin Ginkgo trees on BSC’s campus form a scene that lives in the memory of thousands of graduates. They hold a spot of special honor on the Birmingham-Southern campus, and not for their simple beauty alone.

Over the decades, the two Ginkgo trees along the winding path from Stockham to Munger Memorial Hall have inspired artwork by professors and students, logos for giving societies, gifts for graduates and friends of the college, and more.

The Trees are Legendary

Class outside
BSC physics professor Duane Pontius holding class under the tree. Photo via BSC

According to campus legend, classes are canceled on the day the Ginkgo trees shed their leaves. Reports are mixed on whether or not legend ever holds true, but I’m quite convinced it’s an annual proposition by BSC students.

Birmingham-Southern College Folklore states that in one book about campus life, BSC’s Ginkgos are mentioned.

“The pastoral campus with large shady trees and flower beds has historically been the ideal image of campuses because it embodies the peace and contemplation evoked by nature.”

Simon Bronner, “Piled Higher and Deeper: The Folklore of Campus Life”

BSC’s Twin Ginkgo Trees Have Been a Campus Staple for 50+ Years

Birmingham-Southern College
“Ginkgo biloba” is the only remaining species of a venerable genus that flourished with the dinosaurs. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

The trees have been on Birmingham-Southern College’s hilltop campus since the late 1950s and were given as a gift from Mary Griffin Johns Doster in memory of Frances Sensabaugh Real, a member of the class of 1955, who passed away in 1957.

Ginkgo New mural at Birmingham-Southern College pays tribute to school symbol (PHOTOS)
This particular area of campus is a favorite for many students. Photo via BSC

Darwin called the Ginkgo “a living fossil.” The Ginkgo is said to be the oldest living seed-bearing plant, and, as such, it has become a symbol of longevity and of hope.

Art Students Pay Tribute with a Mural on Campus

Gingko mural
According to one of the artists, this retaining wall was leftover from an old dormitory. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Birmingham-Southern College is a liberal arts institution that has no shortage of creatively talented students. The BSC Art Students League was approached by the student government to create a mural on an unused part of campus.

IMG 6547 scaled New mural at Birmingham-Southern College pays tribute to school symbol (PHOTOS)
Even more beautiful up close! Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Around 7 students had a hand in creating this piece of art that is composed of the Ginkgo leaves that are so special to BSC.

Ginkgo Tree Car Tags Support Alabama Students

Car Tag New mural at Birmingham-Southern College pays tribute to school symbol (PHOTOS)

The latest Ginkgo-inspired creation is BSC’s new car tags. The money from the car tags goes toward Driven to Succeed, a special scholarship for Alabama residents.

Know of other new murals popping up around town? Be sure to let us know by tagging us on social @BhamNow

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Beth Cunningham
Beth Cunningham

A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.

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