The Order of the Ginkgo

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

No, not that long ago, but it was the late 1970’s while I was an undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill (I was there from 1975 to 1979) that some of my friends and I were sitting around thinking about the things that college students think about πŸ™‚ We were all members of the Rho Chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and were generally motivated to do service and good works, all while having a good time, but most of us were not the type of student to get tapped for one of the classic honor societies of Carolina. You know…the “Order of ________” or the “The _________ Society” … I’m sure that you can relate. So, we decided that the only way we’d ever get into an honorary society was to found one ourselves. But what to call it? Well, we had fond memories of the ginkgo tree in front of New West Hall, and how the leaves would all turn yellow gold and then fall off, almost all in one night, creating a golden carpet…upon which to have a keg of golden soda! We’d have a party each fall under the tree…so, we decided to create the Order of the Ginkgo. We took up a collection to buy a page in the Yackety Yack (Carolina’s Yearbook). The first year, the editor wouldn’t publish it, so we hung him in effigy in the tree (and got that picture published for “student life” πŸ˜‰ ). The next year, however, we were in the Yack! I think it may have lasted a few years after the initial group graduated, but it was fun while it lasted.

So, what does that have do do with anything, and why, after all these years, am I putting this in my blog? Well, I was looking for some old financial papers and while going thru my “filing system” I stumbled across a yellowed copy of the by-laws of the Order of the Ginkgo, which I offer here for your reading pleasure. Remember that this was the not-so-politically-correct ramblings of a group of college students πŸ˜‰

Yes, I was one of the Four Tops, the Extra Extreme Grandest Mulch Excelsior…

12 thoughts on “The Order of the Ginkgo

  1. Jerry Beamer

    I too was a 4 top. If memory serves, Omniscient omnipotent grand supreme mulch. Good times sipping the golden nectar under the Ginkgo. Some other 4 tops were Greg Glasby, Greg Butler, Matt Matthews, Dan Smith—all APO brothers. Those were the days of the Port Hole, Hector’s, Carolina Grill, Fowlers, and $2 pitchers at Trolls. I would go back right now and go “Old School”. Thanks for the memory prompt!
    Go Heels! All Hail the Great Ginkgo!!

  2. kck

    I was a Ground Squirrel. (There were a few Flying Squirrels, too.) Somewhere, I still have a baseball jersey with the OG shield (original design by Greg Tripp) and a photo of Caldwell Gray, Greg Glasby and Matt Matthews in their “ceremonial robes” inducting new members. All hail!

    Last year at UNC, a pair of students tried to revive OG, but they were very serious botany students and I don’t think they understood the true purpose of OG … their efforts weren’t successful.

  3. Greg Glasby

    Joel thanks for posting the bylaws. Reading them brought back some great memories. I think the OG stayed around until Willie Koch left the university in the mid-80’s. I don’t think there was another faculty member crazy enough to sponsor us.

    Jerry Beamer … where the heck are you and Jean?

    Karen are you still in Chapel Hill? You still have my email on linkedin don’t you?

  4. Alex

    This is fascinating. I am a current student at UNC and the professor of Local Flora casually mentioned this society when he was going over Ginkgoales. What WAS the purpose of the group?

    1. joel Post author


      The post pretty much tells it like it was…go pull a 1979 Yack from the library and you should find us πŸ˜‰


    2. Jerry Beamer

      The purpose, as I felt it, was fellowship and fun sometimes fueled with the golden nectar. But, we also we found a way to plant more ginkgo trees, which I have continued to do to this day. All hail the Great Ginkgo!

      1. Karen

        I actually have a handful of gingko seeds, collected last year in Coker Arboretum, in my refrigerator right now — they have to go through a cold cycle before sprouting. There’s some golden nectar in there, too. So I’m clearly prepared for an OG reunion. But I can’t imagine anyone “gatoring” at our age.

        1. joel Post author

          Karen, re: Gatoring, I actually participated in some Gatoring at a Phlocking of the Emerald Isle Parrot Head Club this summer πŸ˜‰

          There are pictures.

          1. Karen

            I’m impressed! Gatoring away again in Margaritaville … feel free to post those photos, if you so choose.

  5. Vicki Whitaker

    I worked in New West Hall from 1978 to 1986 and have very fond memories of your celebrations under the Ginko tree. Too bad nobody kept it up. Now I live in Pflugerville, TX and I just went for a walk on a lovely fall afternoon. There are Ginko trees in my neighborhood! How I love those trees!

  6. Kathy Arab

    No Way!!!!!!!! Joel, you and your delightful wife know me from St John’s precinct. I’m one of the judges. AAAAnd….I and my entire third floor of Joyner Dorm were inducted into the OG as “Little Squirrels” sometime between 1977-79. I still have my t-shirt somewhere. Just tonight, talking with the alumni association solicitor, I recounted the story of our induction. What an amazingly small world this is πŸ™‚

  7. joel Post author

    Indeed! I was class of ’79, as were the other 4-Tops. I recall that Lynn Tucker and Chris Mason had something to do with the Squirrel induction of the 3rd floor Joyner


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *