By Will Dutton (Photos by Jase Brandt) Sterling, KS — April 13, 2018, 11:00 A.M.
Have you ever wondered where that big stone with a sword attached to it in front of Cooper came from?
If you’re like me the answer is probably yes. Having been inside the Admissions office where my dad works for many a night growing up, I was very intrigued at my first glance of the ‘Sword in the stone.’
It wasn’t until I began writing this story that I even had the faintest of ideas where it came from.
How would I go about finding the answer? I would ask the woman living on the other side of the street who says she witnessed it transpire.
That’s right, longtime Sterling resident Ginger Reed, whose house sits on the opposite side of the Cooper lawn, believes she saw the placing of the gigantic stone happen in real time and explained her story,
Awaking in “the middle of the night” like I sometimes do, and not being able to get right back to sleep, I got up and wandered out to the living room, looking out the front windows. I can still picture in my mind that pickup truck with a low, flatbed trailer sitting on the lawn in front of Cooper Hall in the dark of early morning and a couple people moving around. It appeared they were gathering up tarps and boards. And some kind of object was sitting behind the trailer on the lawn.
Reed wasn’t sure of the time of night, but once she saw the spectacle, she had no plans to rush back to bed.
She was worried about potential vandalism saying, “I watched intently in case something foul might be happening that needed to be reported. After a while the truck slowly pulled the trailer off toward McCreery Hall and around by the Union. More boards were gathered up and put on the trailer, and I wondered what the object was that was left behind.”
Reed had to take a look for herself, “I found out later that morning when I got up and crossed over to see the rock with the sword. The rest is history, and as far as I know the perpetrators/gift-givers, despite much speculation, have never been identified. The mystery still mystifies!”
Well, since even Reed didn’t know who the people were, another question still lingered.
How has the sword stuck in the stone for so long? — Almost seven years, Reed informed me.
Reed has given the mystery some thought, saying, “I imagine a slot was augured out somehow and the sword cemented in with some kind of super-fantastic glue. Or perhaps there is some sort of flange or pin, bolt or whatever down in there, too, helping to hold it firmly.”
Student ambassadors are among the students who mention the legendary stone the most on campus. It can even be inferred that besides them most students aren’t consciously aware of its presence.
Sophomore Seth Rogers gives tours for the Admissions office and offered his commentary on what the sword represents for the ambassadors.
He spoke, saying, “We tell prospective students on tours that rumor has it that if they can pull the sword out they get free tuition here. Most of the time though they don’t even try.”
Whether you’ve wondered about the sword in the stone at Sterling or not, have you ever gone a step further to see what it might mean on a different level?
Reed concluded the Sword in the stone represents so much more than you might expect.
“It’s a unique, multifaceted symbol of Sterling College: Academics – the sword in the rock represents a classic piece of literature; Athletics – the warrior’s sword; Spiritual – “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and the solid rock of our faith in Christ,” she remarked.