Oak Tree Dedicated to Honor Alumnus

Oak Tree Dedicated to Honor Alumnus
President Michael Ortiz dedicates an oak tree in honor of alumnus Stuart Sperber.
Sperber's family attended the dedication, which was held at AGRIscapes.
The 25-foot Coast Live Oak was donated by Valley Crest Tree Company.

Admired for their beauty and great size, oak trees symbolize strength and longevity. It was fitting that the university dedicated an oak tree on Aug. 18 in honor of alumnus Stuart J. Sperber, a pioneer and leader in the horticulture industry.

Sperber studied ornamental horticulture at Cal Poly Pomona and remained an active supporter of the university throughout his life. He went on to found Valley Crest Tree Company in 1960, a sister company of the ValleyCrest Companies, which developed and refined the process of growing trees in custom-built boxes and transporting the containerized trees. Stuart Sperber died in September 2007.

In a ceremony led by President Michael Ortiz, the university dedicated a 25-foot Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak) in Sperber's memory at AGRIscapes. The tree was one of two that Valley Crest Tree Company donated and planted in April — one at AGRIscapes and another in the University Quad. The oaks represent Sperber's contributions to the community and his legendary status in the landscape industry.

“Stuart's career was built around bringing beauty to our communities. He was responsible for many of the trees that grow right here in AGRIscapes,” Ortiz said. “So it is only fitting that we plant one more in Stuart's honor. Much like Stuart, oak trees stand out. They are strong and stand the test of time. Stuart's contributions to the landscape industry and Cal Poly Pomona will go on forever.”

At the base of the oak, a plaque reads: “This visionary alumnus brought beauty to the world. In recognition of his contributions to the landscape, the nursery industry and Cal Poly Pomona – let this oak tree stand as a symbol of an extraordinary life.”

The dedication ceremony was also attended by Burton Sperber, CEO and chairman of ValleyCrest Companies; Richard Sperber, CEO and president of ValleyCrest Companies; Robert Crudup, president of Valley Crest Tree Company; Stuart's wife Leslie Sperber; College of Agriculture Interim Dean Les Young and Dan Hostetler, chair of the Plant Sciences Department.