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Five Cherry Blossom Trees Planted at Howard University through Partnership with National Cherry Blossom Festival and All Nippon Airways

Group with Cherry Blossom Tree

WASHINGTON (November 2, 2018) – Five symbolic gifts are now deeply rooted on the campus of Howard University. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, in collaboration with All Nippon Airways (ANA) planted five cherry blossom trees during a ceremony held Thursday afternoon. Cherry blossom trees, known for producing vibrant blooms during the Spring months, were originally planted in the Washington area in 1912 as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan. 

“Howard University is proud to continue to build upon our relationship with the people of Japan, and we are grateful for the gift of Cherry Blossom trees from Air Nippon Airways,” says Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “In addition to our students engaged in Japanese language instruction, and students participating in study abroad in Japan, we have also had faculty who have been engaged in research collaborations with Japanese partners. Further, we are proud that one of our student-athletes, Latroya Pina, will be representing her country, and Howard University at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.”

Students from the Howard University Early Learning Program and the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science assisted in the planting process by adding mulch to the bases of the five trees, which were strategically placed throughout a grassy knoll near the corner of Georgia Avenue Northwest and Howard Place Northwest. The gifts are part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region.

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival is very proud to be a part of this tree planting at Howard University, sponsored by ANA, one of our key supporters,” says Diana Mayhew, President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. “Our partnership with ANA is pivotal to United States-Japan relations, along with ensuring that not only is Washington celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin, but throughout the entire city. Howard University is a key part of our community and the festival belongs to everyone within it.”

Also in attendance were students of the University’s Department of World Languages and Cultures, specifically, students currently enrolled in advanced Japanese courses, including Gabrielle Oliver, a senior majoring in English and minoring in Japanese. During the ceremony, Oliver was selected by Naohiro Terakawa, Vice President and General Manager of ANA’s Washington office, to serve as a translator, after expressing his desire to speak in Japanese, rather than English. Terakawa says Oliver’s willingness to assist him in speaking to the crowd is meaningful and representative of a longstanding relationship. 

“The relationship between Howard University and ANA is the same as the relationship between Japan and the United States,” Terakawa explained. “It’s all about friendship and partnership. As you look at the cherry blossom trees, they signify the strong ties between the two countries, as well as ANA and Howard University.”

According to the Cherry Blossom Festival, the five trees will bloom during the upcoming spring season, with greater, more vibrant blooms expected in the years to come. The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival is being held March 20 – April 14, 2019. For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.


Photograph #1: (L-R) Provost Anthony Wutoh, Naohiro Terakawa, Latroya Pina and Diana Mayhew

Photograph #2: Students from Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science and the Department of World Languages and Cultures with Diana Mayhew and Provost Anthony Wutoh 

About the National Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2018 Festival, March 20 – April 15, includes four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org or call 877.44.BLOOM for more information, or check out Facebook (CherryBlossomFestival), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest), and Instagram (@CherryBlossFest). 

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.  For more information on Howard University visit www.howard.edu.

Media contact: Ramzey Smith, Office of University Communications, Ramzey.smith@howard.edu