Howard’s Rock, the idolized relic of Clemson University football, will be open Friday in conjunction with graduation ceremonies, the school athletic department announced this morning.
The rock will sit on its pedestal atop The Hill in Gate 2 of Memorial Stadium from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. This will allow graduates to pose for commemorative photographs with the rock. Commencement ceremonies are set for 9:30 a.m.,2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. inside Littlejohn Coliseum.
Due to ongoing construction, no other areas of the stadium, including the field and The Hill, will be accessible Friday.
Howard’s Rock was removed from its perch in February, after its protective case was damaged in an apparent vandalism attempt. The rock itself was vandalized in June 2013. An estimated 15 percent of the rock was chipped off its edge. It has not been recovered or restored.
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One month after the rock was vandalized in 2013, Clemson enhanced security features for that platform. Spotlights, a security camera, motion-detection devices and an audio warning system were installed, in addition to the new Plexiglass case that was damaged in February.
Howard’s Rock is named after former Clemson football coach Frank Howard. S.C. Jones, a 1919 Clemson graduate, brought the rock from Death Valley, California and presented it as a gift to Howard in 1964.
The rock was placed on a pedestal at Memorial Stadium, nicknamed Death Valley, in 1966. Since 1967, Clemson players have rubbed the rock for good luck before running down The Hill and entering what is now known as Frank Howard Field.