Alumna Katie Kozar Thompson ’09 turned a distressing event into something beautiful. When an ancient laurel oak in the Cistern Yard fell to the ground in July 2016, Geoff Yost ’12 jumped into action to get some of the tree set aside, and then he called Thompson.
As a jewelry designer who works primarily with wood and who is married to a woodworker and furniture designer, Thompson was the perfect candidate to preserve the oak in a lasting and meaningful manner. Now, more than a year later, the College of Charleston Alumni Association is making the Cistern oak commemorative gifts available for purchase.
After nearly 100 years standing witness to convocations, graduations, lifelong friendships, love, and laughter, the oak tree is experiencing new life in the form of stunning earrings, oyster knives, handsome cufflinks, bottle openers and delicate pendants on a silver chain. All are available for purchase online through the Alumni Association.
“It’s a way to celebrate the College of Charleston and all that it has given us – and give back at the same time,” says Thompson, noting how committed the College’s alumni are to the Cistern Yard. “It’s a magical place – every student has memories made under those trees. It’s near and dear to every alum’s heart. That’s why we wanted to save it and honor it.”
Proceeds from the sale of items from the Cistern Oak Collection benefit the Alumni Association’s scholarships and programs for the College.