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The Illustrious and Unknown History of The Rock


It’s big, it’s round, it’s relatively stagnant…THAT’S RIGHT! It’s THE ROCK! You know the rock. That boisterous bolder, that monstrous mineral, that painted pebble. Today its true history will be revealed for the very first time. Please everyone up and on your feet for a proper introduction….


Hailing from the corner of Hill and Washtenaw…


Standing at an impressive 5 foot 11 inches….


Weighing in at just over 8 tons….


He once blocked Rashan Gary while blindfolded….


Ladies and Gentlemen….the immovable force…The ROCK!


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We all know and love the rock. Some of us might have even painted and/or licked it one time. But do we really know where it came from? The answer is no. Not until now. After finally stumbling upon the legendary story deep within the stacks of Hatcher Library, the history is finally being unveiled. We shall start from the beginning.


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The year was 1738, and Alex Sugerman was out of gunpowder. How he’d gotten swept up in the First Revolutionary War, he wasn’t quite sure. Of course, it wasn’t the Revolutionary War that we all know today, the one in which we gained independence from Great Britain. Not many people know about this war, but before we won independence from the English, we first had to win independence from the Vikings. In this, the famous Battle of Ugen, the Americans and Nordic Vikings met in the lower part of what is now Adrian, Michigan.


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Sugerman was taking fire from the Nordics at all angles when he crawled up next to and hid behind an extremely large chunk of hornblendite igneous rock. Here he sat, for 5 hours while the fighting continued around him, until miraculously, everyone had died except for him. Somehow no one found him behind the rock, and as the only survivor, Sugerman claimed victory for the Americans in what turned out to be the deciding battle in the war.


Fast forward 100 years or so. Alex Sugerman’s victory over the Vikings was celebrated and the rock was moved to President Millard Filmore’s front lawn at the White House. Filmore’s pet dachshund, Brittany began using it as her famous “Peeing Rock,” and so did many presidential pets after it.


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After the urine odor became too pungent to keep the rock at the White House, the government had it relocated back to its original location in Adrian, Michigan. The rock was then dedicated to our first President, George Washington. Nobody knows why, but there actually is still a plaque with his name on it buried under all of that paint. 


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There the rock sat, for a very long time, until one day the University of Miami football team came up to play the Wolverines in 1982. On the long drive up, the Miami team bus passed through Adrian, Michigan and saw the giant memorial rock. Freshman defensive end Dwayne Johnson took notice, and one of the reporters on the bus overheard him say to his teammates, “Yeah, well there’s a new rock in town now,” then he punched his fist straight through the seat in front of him. And that was how he got his nickname.


After the Wolverines walloped the Hurricanes 45-17, Michigan legend Desmond Howard, along with several offensive lineman from the football team, traveled to Adrian and took the rock. They rolled it onto a giant metal sled and pulled it to where it now sits, in Ann Arbor.


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Almost immediately upon arrival on campus, there was a huge ketchup incident when a Heinz factory truck was overturned on the corner of Hill Street. After almost the entire rock was covered in ketchup, the unfortunate red color took local students by alarm. They decided to paint over it, a maize and blue layer. Even after the paint and the ketchup came off with some rain, students and Ann Arbor citizens have been painting and re-painting it ever since. Some even claim that the urine smell from its days at the white house is almost completely gone.


In 2012 the university officially renamed the rock “The Adam J. Rivshkin Rock of Cooperation” after a $25 million donation from alumnus Adam Rivshkin (MBA ’78) was given to preserve the rock and to promote closeness within the Ann Arbor community.


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