A Carthage Tradition for more than 100 Years

In 1913, students in a Carthage geology class were on a field trip near the College’s old campus in Carthage, Illinois, when they spotted a 1-1/4-ton granite boulder in a creek bed. They decided to move it to campus as a tribute to Carthage. It took three tries, but the students finally managed to hoist the boulder onto a wagon, and with the help of a steam tractor, they hauled the rock to campus.

Once on campus, the boulder immediately became a part of Carthage life. Students dubbed it “The Kissing Rock” and countless marriage proposals were made and accepted by it.

In the mid-1960s, after Carthage College relocated to Kenosha, Wisconsin, members of the Beta Phi Epsilon fraternity made sure Kissing Rock moved, too. The Rock now sits proudly facing Lake Michigan between Lentz and Tarble Halls.

Today, Kissing Rock is a multifaceted symbol of the Carthage spirit. Students paint the Rock to promote their organizations and causes, publicize upcoming events, and celebrate just about everything and anything. Kissing Rock has served as a memorial to beloved alumni, an expression of protest against injustice, a tribute after 9/11, and more.

It’s also maintained its magic. In April 2016, College Magazine ranked Carthage No. 5 on its list of “Top 10 Schools for Falling in Love” because of the Kissing Rock tradition. Kissing Rock has also earned Carthage a spot on College Ranker’s “25 Most Romantic Campus Traditions” list; Online College.org’s “10 Most Romantic Campus Traditions” list and others.

Steeped in tradition and memories, Kissing Rock is beloved by Carthage students and alumni, who make a point of visiting the Rock during reunions or visits.