By Dennis E. Park ’07-hon, consulting editor/historian
If you have been around the Loma Linda campus for several years, you may remember the Heritage Stone, which was a landmark near the center of the campus quadrangle. Perhaps, you wondered, “Where did it come from? What kind of rock is it? How much does it weigh? Why is it here?” and more recently, “Where did it go?”
The stone is gray granite, which weighs approximately 1,720 pounds. It was lying in a farmer’s field near Battle Creek, Michigan, when it was happened upon by a member of the American Medical Missionary College (AMMC) from the class of 1899, the first class to graduate from that school. Desiring to give the school a lasting memorial gift, Alfred Shryock, president of the class, got together the farm boys of the class, “borrowed” a team of horses, and brought the stone up from the countryside. He had it engraved with the message, “Let us follow Him.” The stone was set up at the college. However, the gift was not so lasting.
In a few short years, AMMC failed, but the rock remained on the campus until the 1950s. The late Olaf (Andy Anderson) fills us in on what happened to the stone: “In 1950-51, the army razed the old Battle Creek College [AMMC]. Nothing but rubble was left, and machinery was leveling the grounds and pushing everything into the old basement of the college the morning I happened by.
“Just as I came along the path, the men were about to roll the AMMC boulder into the basement. I asked if I might have the stone and was told, ‘Sure, take it with you!’ Of course, they knew I couldn’t, but I was assured they would do nothing with it until I could obtain a crane and some equipment.
“That afternoon, we hauled the old boulder to the Battle Creek Academy ground and set it up facing the south, where it remained until it was brought to the CME campus — for CME’s 50th anniversary in 1955.”
Sometime around 2011, the stone was relocated just south of its original location to the northeast side of Magan Hall when the Founders Plaza and the Centennial Pathway were created.
The inscription has faded with time, but its meaning is as clear as the day the engraver placed his chisel to the stone. I like to think that the inscription is the preamble to the motto of Loma Linda University: “Let us follow Him… to make man whole.”
This historical piece was adapted from “The Mound City Chronicles, A Pictorial History of Loma Linda University, A Health Sciences Institution.” (Page 78)
James W. Erkenbeck (AMMC 1899) stands next to Walter E. Macpherson ’24 (left), dean of the School
of Medicine, and Charles Philips (right), president of the class of 1955, during the relocation ceremony
of the Heritage Stone on June 5, 1955.