HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss celebrated its own version of Arbor Day by holding a ceremony on campus Friday.
Faculty, staff and students watched members of the Physical Plant plant three new trees in front of McLemore Hall, with the help of Dubard School of Language Disorders students.
Later, the group joined together near the oldest oak on campus for a naming ceremony in front of Kenard-Washington Hall.
Van Arnold with USM Communications came up with the idea to have a naming contest for the 100-year-old oak tree.
Members of the Physical Plant judged and voted on the new winning name from faculty, staff and students.
"Four years ago today, a lot of trees were down on this campus, four years ago today that tornado came through here," Arnold said. "To see the campus as pretty as it is right now is really heartwarming."
Lily Carley, 11-year-old Dubard School student said, "The first time I saw it I thought this is the biggest tree I've ever seen. And it's the easiest tree you can see on campus."
Faculty member and former student Stephen McCay came up with the winning name of the majestic oak, calling it The Legacy Oak.
Southern Miss has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for the sixth year in a row, and it was the first of three universities in the state to earn the designation.
WDAM intern Shanice Gatlin also contributed to this story.