ROCK ART: Southwestern Brings In New Semester With Century-Long Tradition On The Hill

Southwestern College students, faculty, and staff continued a more than 100-year tradition last week with the annual painting of the SC rocks on the hill east of Jantz Stadium Friday.

The event, “Keeping the Spirit,” was an opportunity for first year Moundbuilders, including new president Liz Frombgen, to experience one of Southwestern’s many rich traditions.

“The Builder Family is so fortunate to share in many unique traditions that help define Southwestern,” Frombgen said in a press release from Southwestern. “Shared experiences like painting the SC rocks and the Moundbuilding Ceremony create opportunities for meaningful connection to one another, our physical campus, and our rich history. These moments make us proud to be Builders.”

The tradition began in 1918 when first-year men were charged with painting the “S” north of town while female students prepared a picnic.

SC students Lily Blankenship and Kiersten Kizer pose for a picture during the college’s “Keeping The Spirit” event Friday.

Southwestern students became frustrated as students from a rival school would come to Winfield and change the letter from an “S” to an “F.” So the college added the letter C and in 1965 The “SC” was moved into town, to its current site. The tradition had faded away, but was brought back to life in 2016 and has remained a staple of the Builderfest activities.

Lily Blankenship, freshman from Spiro, Okla., and Kirsten Kizer, freshman from Kellyville, Okla., were looking forward to the event.

“I love this, I am a big tradition person,” Kizer said. “I think it is really cool that other students see it like I do. Feels like I am already home.”

“I am excited, I think it is a fun event, and we get to paint,” Blankenship said.

Southwestern College is a private liberal arts college, founded in 1885 by Methodists in south central Kansas. Today its Winfield campus is the residential hub that guides students to lives of meaning and service, with well-rounded academic and extra-curricular offerings attracting traditional-aged students from throughout the nation and world.

Southwestern College Professional Studies provides options for online students in any location and has been named a top provider for persons serving in the military. The college continues to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.