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Romeoville campus earns arboretum designation

Area university receives accreditation for 376-acre campus

Dr. Dominic Colonna, professor of theology, teaches class on the Romeoville campus of Lewis University. The university was granted accreditation for its Romeoville campus as an established arboretum.
Dr. Dominic Colonna, professor of theology, teaches class on the Romeoville campus of Lewis University. The university was granted accreditation for its Romeoville campus as an established arboretum.

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — The Morton Register has granted Lewis University accreditation for its Romeoville campus as an established arboretum.

The University received this award for its impressive main campus by achieving certain standards of professional standards of professional practices deemed important for arboretum and botanic gardens.

Lewis University is a veritable arboretum with more than 2,400 trees in addition to wooded areas. The 376-acre campus features more than 140 varieties of trees.

“This designation recognizes our university’s commitment to providing the best learning environment for our students,” said Brother James Gaffney, FSC, president of Lewis University. “Lewis has been developing its campus for more than 30 years with plantings to beautify its sweeping landscape and protect the environment.  Our grounds staff is to be commended for their dedication in caring for God’s creation, recognizing we are a Catholic institution in the Lasallian tradition.”

From 1979 to 1989 on the Lewis campus, the late Brother Ambrose Groble, FSC, planted 189 trees from 36 species as part of a campus beautification project. Later Brother Augustine Kossuth, FSC, planted additional trees on campus and placed tags on them to assist people in identifying the different species.

In 1999, Brother Augustine also produced a walking tour of campus so that visitors could explore the trees in their natural settings. Today, the walking tour includes more than 50 varieties.

This legacy of planting trees has been continued by Dwight DeVries, superintendent of grounds, and his staff. In 2009, the Romeoville Main Campus was designated a Tree Campus USA. The campus has received the annual honor each year since then.

Lewis University received the Level I designation after demonstrating its commitment to being an arboretum through the following actions and practices:

• Developing an arboretum plan that defines the purpose of the arboretum, its audience, provisions for maintenance and care of the plants, and a plan to continue the program.

• Establishing an arboretum group, the Lewis University Tree Campus USA Committee, that is dedicated to the arboretum plan and its continuation.

• Lewis University features more than 140 kinds of trees or woody plants in accordance with the arboretum plan.

• Lewis University Grounds Department maintains and cares for the collection.

• Lewis University hosts several public events and educational programs each year focused on trees or arboretum purposes, such as its annual observance of Arbor Day.

• Lewis University also participates in ArbNet.

ArbNet, the Morton Register and the Accreditation Program are coordinated by The Morton Arboretum as an international initiative to support the work of arboretum in saving and planting trees.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students.

Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates.

The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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