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Haverford College
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Inside the Arboretum: About Us

Bill Astifan with the Bur Oak

Bill Astifan (Director of Arboretum Association/Assistant Director of Facilities, Arboretum) with the Bur Oak in front of Magill Library.

Haverford College was founded in 1833 by a group of Welsh Quakers, and the following year William Carvill, an English landscape gardener, was hired to design the plan for the campus. Carvill developed a design to replace the tilled fields, woodlots and pastures, using trees to frame and complement open spaces. He bordered the lanes with alleés of trees and planted groups of trees in odd numbers. Carvill also constructed grape arbors and a serpentine walk, reflecting the English landscape tradition of Sir Humphrey Repton. Carvill’s mark is still evident today in the pastoral landscape which includes several original trees including a Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor, and Bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, on Founders Green.

In 1901, a group of students and alumni formed the Campus Club to help preserve the campus landscape after discovering Carvill’s original plan.  Their work eventually led to the founding of the Haverford College Campus Arboretum Association (now the Haverford College Arboretum Association) in 1974, which continues to perpetuate Carvill’s original design.

Contact the Arboretum at (610) 896-1101 or

The Haverford College Arboretum is a member of Greater Philadelphia Gardens.

Please note: Haverford College does not permit wedding ceremonies to take place on campus. A hall is available for rental from June through mid-August for receptions only, but the bride or groom must be an alum, current employee, or legal dependent of a current college employee. For more information, email

Mission Statement

The mission of the Arboretum is to preserve the stately historic trees on campus and to perpetuate the Reptonian design set forth by William Carvill in 1834. In carrying out this mission, it is our responsibility to maintain and build upon the diversity of the tree collection, as well as to enhance the study of this history by bringing a better understanding of it to all who visit Haverford College.

Annual Report