Memorial Oak Tree

Memorial Oak Centennial Dedication

Farmingdale State College was chartered in April 1912 as the New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island. The school opened its doors to students in 1916. On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the Great War (World War I). The war had a profound effect on the campus community, including students, staff, instruction, and campus life in general. Patriotism was a tremendous aspect of American life and multitudes of young men voluntarily joined the armed forces including many of the college's first students. After the Great War ended, there was a national movement to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country. This came in the act of planting memorial trees. On June 4, 1921, the college planted a white oak in an elaborate memorial service which drew more than 300 attendees.

The Memorial Oak stands as a perfect symbol of the intersection of the college’s identity as a school of agriculture and the effects of the Great War on our school. In the ceremony organized by Professor Mary Peters, the white oak, donated by Henry Hicks, was set in soil collected from all the U. S. States and territories as well as from each Allied Nation. More than 70 parcels of soil were placed by veteran students that day. Many of the veteran students were part of the federally funded program called the Federal Board. The Federal Board, similar to today’s GI Bill, provided veterans, many injured in their service, the opportunity to take courses thereby regaining their ability to find employment. This included, Angelo Crisafulli (Class of 1922); the only identifiable participant. Angelo laid the soil from his native homeland of Italy. Angelo served in the 9th Infantry at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, the same battle in which Jack Bamforth was killed. Jack was a student at Farmingdale until he enlisted in the 5th Regiment of the United States Marine Corp. He was just days shy of his 19th birthday when he was killed in action on June 15, 1918. We honor the lives and key roles these individuals played in the planting of our Memorial Oak 100 years ago.

June 4, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Whitman Hall, Outside under the Memorial Oak

Thank you to all of our attendees, we look forward to seeing you at future events.

Last Modified 5/17/21