The grand oak located on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi is estimated to date back to 1487, making the tree just a sapling when Columbus spotted future American soil. Friendship Oak survived Hurricane Katrina as well as many other mighty storms that have swept the Gulf over the centuries. The tree is an integral part of the Southern Miss students' campus experience, and many friendships have began under the limbs of the oak over the history of the school. In fact, it was named for the belief that those who enter under the shade of the Friendship Oak will certainly be friends forever. The school has even created a line of merchandise called the Friendship Oak Collection, which features an image of the magnificent oak.