100 Years of the 'R'
One hundred years after its creation, the “R” has become a symbol of the University of Redlands that can be seen from far and wide.
In honor of its centennial, the “R” was lit earlier this month with dozens of solar-powered lights; several students, including members of the Kappa Sigma Sigma fraternity, and alums trekked up the hillside to ensure that the letter was lined with the lights in time for Alumni Founders Weekend May 17-19. During an evening event on May 18, President Ralph Kuncl was joined by several alums and staff members at the Orton fire pit, with many of those in attendance sharing stories about the “R.”
Director of Alumni Relations John Serbein told the crowd that in the years following the creation of the “R” in 1913, it was well-maintained; in those days, the seniors had the freshmen clear the letter. After about 30 or 40 years, it started to become overgrown, and in the 1980s a group of students decided it was time to get it back into shape.
“They were proudly called the Bushwhackers,” Laura Horn ’88 said.
Her husband, Greg Horn ’87, was the ringleader of this clean-up effort, and wasn’t even able to find the “R” the first few times he scaled up the hill. Once it was finally located, Laura Horn would stand below and use a two-way radio to let him know where to place rope around the outline of the letter.
“We went up three times my freshmen year to outline the perimeter,” she said. “It took about two years to really clean up the whole shape of it.”
Since that initial effort, groups of students and alums have continued to make annual treks up to the “R” to keep it clear. In a nod to the past when students used to light the “R” with highway flares, it has also been illuminated during specific special events, such as this year’s Alumni Founders Weekend and the 2006 University centennial.
According to Board of Trustees member Larry Burgess ’67, none of this would have been possible without a determined Bulldog.
“We wouldn’t be here tonight looking at the ‘R’ if not for Greg,” he said.
Posted: May 24, 2013
Written by: Catherine Garcia