Friday, April 29, 2022
5:00 p.m. CST
Macbride Auditorium (room 201), Macbride Hall

The Anne Frank Sapling was planted on Arbor Day 2022 (April 29) on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. Talks, spoken-word performances, and live music preceded the planting.

Watch the ceremony:

4/29 Planting Ceremony Schedule

University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson, left, waits to speak at the Anne Frank Tree Planting ceremony, April 29, 2022.
Liz Tovar, Director of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, speaks at the Anne Frank Tree Planting Ceremony.
Members of the audience. Approximately 700 people from the community and campus gathered to hear remarks and performances in honor of the Anne Frank Tree.
Andrew Dahl, the University of Iowa’s arborist, provides the land acknowledgement.
Iowa City Council Member Janice Weiner gives remarks.
Kirsten Kumpf Baele, who wrote the application to the Anne Frank Foundation, tells her story of bringing the tree to Iowa.
Audience members at the Anne Frank Tree Planting Ceremony, April 29, 2022.
Emma Silverman, an MFA candidate in the UI Playwriting Workshop, reads an excerpt from her play “Stars and Stones.”
Guest artist Amal Kassir reminds us to keep doors open to everyone.
Amal Kassir giving thanks to Liz Tovar, who introduced her.
Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz delivers her talk.
UI arborists add dirt to the planting.
Kirsten Kumpf Baele, Heike Kumpf, and Jhe Russell shovel dirt on to the tree.
The community surrounds the tree.
Youth from Agudas Achim Synagogue add the first scoops of earth on to the tree.
A celebratory moment on a day of many such moments.
The white horse hair chestnut on its first day on the University of Iowa Pentacrest.
  • Welcome Address
    Kirsten Kumpf Baele, PhD, UI Department of German
  • Opening Remarks
    President Barbara Wilson, University of Iowa and Janice Weiner, Iowa City Councilor
  • Introduction to the Land
    Andrew Dahl, Arborist, University of Iowa
  • “The Journey”
    Kirsten Kumpf Baele
  • Excerpt from Stones and Stars
    Performed and written by Emma Silverman, MFA candidate, University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop
  • Remarks
    Liz Tovar, Executive Officer and Associate Vice President, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, University of Iowa
  • Spoken-Word Performance
    Amal Kassir, featured guest artist
  • Remarks and Blessing
    Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz, Agudas Achim Congregation, Iowa City
  • “May My Tears Water a Sapling”
    Oakdale Choir Singers; Choir leader and lyricist: Mary Cohen, Associate Professor, UI School of Music and College of Education

May my tears water a sapling
May my life support its growth
May I walk with care and healing
For new life upon the earth
May our breath move with the Spirit
Flowing free around the earth
May we listen to the sunshine
And feel the moon reflect our worth.


  • “Anne Frank Tree Poem”
    Composed and performed by Jhe Russell, choreographer, teacher, and poet | Read the poem
  • At this point, the audience will turn their attention to the tree.
  • Planting of the Sapling
    Led by University of Iowa Forestry Team, Landscape Services, with local Jewish youth and members of the Planting Ceremony Team

Post-Ceremony Events

The following events are free and open to all.

Immediately following the ceremony — Community Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz and Josh Hare, Iowa Hillel, Phillips Hall auditorium (Room #100)

6:30–9:00 p.m. Let Me Be Myself exhibit, Phillips Hall (main floor, Center for Language & Culture Learning). The exhibit will be on display in Phillips Hall from April 25–30, 2022.

7:30-8:30 p.m.Young Writers Respond, Phillips Hall Auditorium. The Iowa Youth Writing Project, IC Speaks, and the UI Center for Human Rights asked students to respond to the legacy of Anne Frank, reflecting on her experience as a hidden person and her message about social justice. In this event, writers from junior high through undergraduate will share their entries. You’ll hear from local voices, as well as video addresses from young people around the world who participated in these calls. 

Getting Here

Please consider your transportation well ahead of time!

If you arrive by car, we recommend parking in one of these ramps near Macbride Hall:

  • Iowa City Capitol Street Ramp, 220 S. Capitol St., adjoining Old Capitol Mall/Town Center OR Tower Place Parking Ramp, 335 Iowa Ave.
    • ADA parking & EV charging available
    • First hour free, $1 per hour for each additional hour; cash or card
  • The closest parking to the site is the Pappajohn Business Building Ramp, 119 N. Clinton St.; however, it does not open to the public until until 4:30 p.m.
  • For other campus lots and ramps, view the UI’s Parking Map
  • For other Iowa City-owned ramps, visit the Iowa City Parking website.

To find the best bus service and route for you, visit the Iowa City Area Transit Services website. When you arrive on campus, get off at any Pentacrest stop.

There are many bike racks near the Pentacrest buildings.


  • Nearly 800 seats are available in the Macbride Hall auditorium. If you requested a chair via your registration, please find your name on a chair near the front of the auditorium. If you didn’t register (or request a chair), you may sit anywhere you like!

Facilities & Accessibility

About the Performers

The Oakdale Community Choir & Mary Cohen

Led by UI faculty member Mary Cohen, the Oakdale Community Choir provides choral singing experiences for men (“inside singers”) in the general population of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (Oakdale Prison) who are not restricted to their units and for women and men (“outside singers”) in the community who have an interest in learning more about issues in the prison system. The outside singers will perform a song written by Cohen, “May My Tears Water a Sapling” and invite the audience to join them.

Mary Cohen is an Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Iowa. In 2009, she founded the Oakdale Prison Community Choir. Her research centers on music education as a tool for abolishing the prison industrial complex.

Emma Silverman

An MFA candidate at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Emma Silverman will perform a monologue from her upcoming UI New Play Festival work Stars and Stones. The work focuses on a young Jewish woman reckoning with the ghosts of her past and the apparitions of the present during and after a research trip to Poland. As she is launched back and forth through history, she is forced to consider the nature of her project while a scattering of strangers embark on their own moralistic journeys. 

Amal Kassir

Amal Kassir grew up with a white Iowa-born mother and an Arab father, giving her a unique cultural experience that allows her to empathize with those struggling to balance their religious identity with their American one. A spoken-word artist, Kassir has performed in a dozen countries and over 50 cities, presenting in prisons, refugee camps, art fests, and colleges. With a strong belief in the power of storytelling to bring people together and help heal personal wounds and communal rifts, Amal is honored to participate in this event and help carry Anne Frank’s legacy into the current moment.

Jhe Russell

Jhe Russell holds an MFA in dance from the University of Iowa. He is a choreographer, teacher, and poet.

Planting Ceremony Team

  • Kirsten Kumpf Baele, UI Department of German — co-chair
  • Jennifer New, UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies — co-chair
  • Mary Cohen, UI School of Music and College of Education
  • Andrew Dahl, UI Landscape Services
  • Claire Frances, UI Center for Language & Culture Learning
  • Josh Hare, Iowa Hillel
  • Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz, Agudas Achim Congregation
  • Heike Kumpf, Shive-Hattery Architecture & Engineering
  • Susie Reagan, Agudas Achim Congregation
  • Marisa Rethman, UI undergraduate research assistant
  • Emma Silverman, MFA candidate, UI Playwrights Workshop
  • With thanks to Erin Hackathorn and Jenna Hammerich at the Obermann Center for administrative and creative support.