SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – With local temperatures rising, Evangel University’s iconic tulips are beginning to emerge from the soil. Thousands of tulips are planted on campus every year, and the public is invited to stop by and capture a photo with the tulips as a traditional spring-time backdrop.
Nathan Cook, EU’s groundskeeper, estimates the flowers are only a week or two away from full bloom.
“My goal is that they are in full bloom around the week of graduation,” Cook said. “This all depends on the weather. Sometimes it gets too warm too early, and they don’t make it. Given our weather this year, it looks like they will all be beautifully on display.”
Every spring, Evangel orders 9,000 French blend late blooming tulips. Once the tulips are in full bloom, they last three to four weeks.
Tulips are also planted in front of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, located on the north end of Evangel’s campus.
History of Evangel’s Tulips
The beautiful tulip landscaping at Evangel began with Tom Keltner, now retired director of the Physical Plant. While interviewing for a position as director of campus transformation, Keltner was asked by Evangel’s then-President Robert H. Spence about his vision for the campus. Keltner gave two answers: landscaping and tulips. Spence loved his idea, and Keltner got the job.
The tulips made their debut in 1997, coinciding with the opening of Zimmerman Hall, and have been planted every spring since. The flowers are primarily located toward the front of campus, especially around Riggs Hall and Spence Chapel, and have become a seasonal staple at the university.
Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master and doctoral degrees.