Quakes and beasts: Engineering stone protected by curse

Ian Larsen/Sun Star Reporter
October 30, 2012

Missing plaque from the UAF Engineering Tradition Stone. Oct. 28, 2012 Ian Larsen/Sun Star.

Every day students and staff walk past the UAF Engineering stone oblivious to the secrets and origin of the painted pyramid. Little do we know that the stone actually protects the campus from dark disasters.

Past:

March 17, 1967 is an Engineering Day UAF will never forget.  That year, National Engineering Week coincided with St. Patrick’s day, the patron saint of engineers. During the celebration, UAF Engineering students took part in the ritual of kissing the secret Blarney stone as an engineering initiation.

The engineering department was rumored to have two formidable Blarney Stones over the years, but the stones were lost or stolen by persons or forces unknown, said UAF Civil Engineering Professor Robert Perkins.

On that fateful day in March 1967, students blockaded the doors of the Duckering Building with snow and scattered furniture across the building’s hallways in protest for no classes on St. Patrick’s Day.

To commemorate this triumph over the man and replace the lost engineering stones, the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers built the Engineering Tradition stone.  The pure concrete stone pyramid, weighing 3,000 pounds was meant to symbolize both Engineers and St. Patrick’s Day and was painted florescent green

However, the weight and structure was not enough to keep the stone protected. Upon completion of the stone, a curse was put upon it by the engineers, and the terms of protection from the curse written upon the plaque of the stone:

                 FUNDATORI MUNDI (Builders of Earth)

“THERE CAME UPON THIS CAMPUS IN 1922 THE FIRST ENGINEER, AND THIS WAS GOOD.  THEN OVER THE PLACE SPREAD IDIOTS, AND THE ENGINEER SAW THIS WAS BAD.  AND HE CAST A GREAT STONE SAYING, WHENSOEVER THIS STONE SHALL BE REMOVED BY IDIOTS, HORRIBLE PLAGUES SHALL COME UPON THIS PLACE.  AND THE STONE WAS REMOVED AND EXCREMENT OF MANY BEASTS CAME HERE.  THEN THE ENGINEER CAST A SECOND STONE.  AND IT TOO WAS REMOVED.  ON THAT DAY BEASTS CAME AND THE EARTH TREMBLED AND THERE WAS TERRIBLE RUMBLING AND MANY MEMORANDUMS, AND THE ENGINEER SAID THIS WAS BAD AND HE CAST THE THIRD STONE…”  as stated on the Engineering stone.

Present day:

Forty-five years have passed since the placement of this stone outside of the Duckering building and during that time  attempts have been made to move the monument, but none have been successful. 

On a crisp dark night in October, two students attempted to steal the stone using a vehicle to haul it off. The stone was not moved. However, the plaque containing the words of the curse was ripped from the stone.

“The students probably thought the stone was the traditions stone,” said UAF Dean of Engineering and Mines Doug Goering. “If anyone is affected by the curse it would be these students.”

Thanks to the engineering of the monument, the stone continued to protect UAF from the curse that these “idiots” attempted to reign down onto campus.

Goering is in possession of the plaque and plans to have the stone repaired after the Christmas break, he said.

Coincidentally the stone was being prepared to move in order to work on the utilidor the monument sat upon for the new Duckering addition. Facilities Services were meant to make the move, but some professors were afraid the stone would unleash the curse if UAF engineers did not move the monument.

Robert Perkins attempted to prevent the release of the curse at all costs.

“The last time the stone was moved by idiots, the earth quaked and there was an excrement of beasts,” said Perkins, in a telephone interview. “We are currently looking into hiring licensed shamans to break the curse before the move.”

In 1967, alumni and professors were at ease when they learned the stone would only be moved about ten feet from its original resting place.  The move was carefully planned out in order to make the movers not looks like the “idiots” the curse talks about.

As an extra precaution, 1967 alumni and professors signed a waver to form a “truce” with the demons of the stone for the short move.

The moving of the stone went smoothly and UAF was yet again safe from excrement of beasts and quakes.

For now the stone sits and waits for “idiots” to move it so it can yet again release its demons onto UAF.

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