Jerald L. Fox
director, Office of International Education, 308.865.8246 or email@example.com
In years to come, cherry trees in blossom each spring on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus and along University Drive will remind the campus and the community of the friendship between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Japan.
The first cherry trees will be planted as part of the First Annual Sakura Festival, a Japanese cherry blossom festival, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Welch Hall on the UNK West Campus. These trees, similar to the ones planted on the Potomac more than 100 years ago, will symbolize the friendship between UNK and Japan, and the prospect for continued cooperation. The festival is an annual celebration in Japan.
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen will open the ceremonies, followed by Kearney Mayor Bruce Blankenship, Dr. France Pruitt of the National Collegiate Network Foundation and a Japanese student. A representative from the Consulate of Japan may also attend. After the symbolic planting, Japanese students will entertain and Japanese food will be served. The Sakura Festival is free and open to the public.
“At this inaugural Sakura Festival, we will plant cherry trees to symbolize the friendship, cooperation and the strong relationship between UNK and our students from Japan,” said Jerry Fox, director of the UNK Office of International Education. Five trees will be planted just in advance of the ceremonies; one will be planted during the actual ceremonies. Twenty-four more cherry trees will be planted in late spring to create an entryway into our campus from the west on University Drive.
Currently, approximately 175 Japanese students attend UNK through an arrangement that was established three years ago, according to Fox.