By Lauren Poteat Special to the AFRO

Serving as a hub for Black excellence across the country, isn’t the only thing that Howard University is known for.

Catering to an elaborate Department of World Languages and Cultures, November 2, the university welcomed a special tree-planting ceremony, presented by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, in collaboration with All Nippon Airways (ANA), in recognition of the school’s impactful Japanese courses and study abroad program.

Students from the Howard University Early Learning Program and the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science plant Cherry Blossom Trees on Campus (Photo Credit: Howard University)

“We chose to plant trees at Howard University because of their longstanding presence as a leading institution in our community,” Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival told the AFRO. “Through these tree plantings, the National Cherry Blossom Festival continues to extend beyond the Tidal Basin, and we’re so proud to have planted the seed of friendship between the Festival and the University.”

Students from the Howard University Early Learning Program and the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science assisted in the planting process by adding mulch to the bases of the five trees, which were strategically placed throughout a grassy knoll near the corner of Georgia Avenue Northwest and Howard Place Northwest.

The gifts are part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region.

“Howard University is a key part of our community and the festival belongs to everyone within it,” Mayhew said.

Known for producing vibrant blooms during Spring months, Cherry blossom trees, which were originally planted in the Washington area in 1912, continue to serve as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan.

“Howard University is proud to continue to build upon our relationship with the people of Japan, and we are grateful for the gift of Cherry Blossom trees from Air Nippon Airways,” Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., Provost and Chief Academic Officer said. “In addition to our students engaged in Japanese language instruction, and students participating in study abroad in Japan, we have also had faculty who have been engaged in research collaborations with Japanese partners. Further, we are proud that one of our student-athletes, Latroya Pina, will be representing her country, and Howard University at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.”

The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival is being held March 20 – April 14, 2019. For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, visit