New Cherry Trees Celebrate Women’s Leadership

May 18, 2015

Cherry Tree dedication

Trustee Atsuko Fish honors Simmons with lasting gift

Simmons Trustee Atsuko Fish and her husband, Larry Fish, have generously donated hundreds of cherry trees around the City of Boston in the last 25 years. This month, as Atsuko Fish stepped off the Simmons board after 10 years of service, the couple gave five Somei Yoshino Japanese cherry trees to the College in honor of women’s leadership globally and to celebrate the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Atsuko Fish co-founded the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative in 2006, and the Simmons School of Management became its institutional partner. The Institute has helped prepare Japanese women for leadership roles in the country’s growing nonprofit sector. 

The May 14, 2015 ceremony dedicating the cherry trees on the main Simmons campus included Board Chair Regina Pisa, Atsuko Fish, and President Helen Drinan ’75LS, ’78SM (pictured above, left to right). 

“When Atsuko told us of her desire to give the trees to Simmons, we were grateful and delighted,” says Marianne Lord, vice president of advancement. “We looked for the perfect place to plant them and quickly decided on the quad, right in the heart of campus.”

These cherished harbingers of spring will be enjoyed by everyone who comes to Simmons, including students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and friends. 

The trees will surround a new labyrinth that will honor visionary members of the Simmons community who have shared bequest intentions with Simmons during the Making Education Work Campaign. Building and grounds staff will install the labyrinth over the summer, and it will be dedicated on September 10, 2015 at the Making Education Work Campaign celebration on campus. 

“Cherry trees, along with the labyrinth, are so rich in symbolism,” says Lord. “The labyrinth encourages us to find our center, the donor plaque reminds us to have faith in the future, and the trees encourage us to look always to spring and to celebrate our growth.”