Southeast's 'gum tree' is no more, split by high winds

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 ~ Updated 11:02 PM
The "gum tree" lies in two pieces Saturday on Southeast Missouri State University's campus in Cape Girardeau.
KASSI JACKSON

Southeast Missouri State University’s iconic “gum tree” has met an early demise.

The university announced Friday on its social media accounts the tree had been split in two.

In an email to the Southeast Missourian on Saturday, Southeast communications director Ann Hayes said the gum tree has been a campus icon for years and the university expects to make an assessment this week concerning its replacement.

The "gum tree" lies in two pieces Saturday on Southeast Missouri State University's campus in Cape Girardeau.
KASSI JACKSON

“No decisions have been made at this point,” she said.

Hayes said this is not the first time the university has lost a gum tree. The original tree died and was replaced in 1989, she said.

“Students honored its predecessor with their chewing gum until yesterday when the tree went down with high wind during an afternoon storm,” Hayes said.

The "gum tree" lies in two pieces Saturday on Southeast Missouri State University's campus in Cape Girardeau.
KASSI JACKSON

Students have placed their used chewing gum on the tree for many years, she said, earning it the title of “gum tree.”

The tree is at the top of “Cardiac Hill” on the campus of Southeast — which Hayes described as a steep hill above Southeast’s Towers residence hall complex — at the intersection of North Pacific Street, Alta Vista Drive and Cheney Drive.

“The hill got its name because the football team many years ago sprinted up this steep embankment during training, and they often complained that they felt like they were going to have a heart attack from the strenuous trek up the hill,” Hayes said.

The original tree, which dated back to the 1960s, had similarly collected years worth of chewing gum on its bark from students who had walked up the same hill on their way to class.

The "gum tree" lies in two pieces Saturday on Southeast Missouri State University's campus in Cape Girardeau.
KASSI JACKSON

jhartwig@semissourian.com

(573) 388-3632

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Joshua Hartwig
Culture/Events Reporter
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