Students, dignitaries, neighbors celebrate planting of 'Traina Tree'

Students and dignitaries help to plant the "Traina Tree" in University Park.

The Worcester Tree Initiative is planting thousands of trees across the city to reclaim the urban forest decimated by the Asian long-horned beetle and the 2008 ice storm, but one white oak taking root in Main South holds special significance for the Clark University community.

On April 29, Arbor Day, Congressman James McGovern, state Rep. James O’Day, Clark President David Angel, City Manager Michael O’Brien, Mayor Joseph O’Brien and City Councilor Barbara Haller were joined by Clark’s Board of Trustees, students from the Goddard Elementary School and other community members to dedicate the newly planted oak in honor of the late Richard Traina and his wife, Polly.

* To view a slideshow of the dedication and planting, click here. *

The tree, which stands in University Park in view of Clark, memorializes the partnership the Trainas forged with the Main South neighborhood during Richard Traina’s 16-year tenure (1984-2000) as Clark’s president.

Clark President David Angel addresses the gathering at University Park.

McGovern lauded the Trainas’ efforts on behalf of Main South. Addressing the Goddard students, he said, “[Dick and Polly Traina’s] passion and dedication to the neighborhood, and their dedication to you young people, is unsurpassed.”

President Angel noted that Traina “set the direction for Clark when he linked the university to the future of the city. It was a brave, courageous decision, and it was the right decision.”

Clark’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the city “makes Main South a better place to work, live and recreate,” said Michael O’Brien. As part of the agreement, Clark is funding $1.5 million in improvements to University Park.