Monday, September 7, 2009

The Legend of Loch

As Clayton State University approaches the 40th anniversary of the day its doors opened to students (that would be Sept. 30, 2009), the University will, from time-to-time, be taking a look back at its past.

Today’s subject -- the University’s mascot, Loch. Just how did a large, green whatever become the mascot of “an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta?” Here’s the Legend of Loch…

In 1969, Clayton Junior College was established and, as part of the original campus, a 12-acre artificial lake was created out of what was originally an old dairy farm. The lake was built in mid-January in the middle of one of the worst winter storms in Atlanta’s history. When the construction crews were digging to make room for the dam that would create the lake, an amazing discovery was found deep below the surface. What looked to be a large piece of rock was actually a large chunk of ice.

With the work picking back up and the huge ice rock lying off to the side, no one noticed that the ice began to crack. One morning, after returning to the dam, the workers were astonished to find the ice had split in two and a hollow inside was left, as if something had hatched from within. Immediately, questions began to arise and concerns shot across the community. “What had been let loose?”… “Should we be afraid?” However, after the initial shock wore off, life on the construction site went back to normal.

Several years passed. The, in 1990, a strange string of occurrences began to happen. Several of the ducks around the campus turned up dead, looking as if some animal had feasted them on. When the campus police checked the film of the duck crime scene, they saw on the tape a large, shadowy creature walking amongst the trees and disappearing into the lake. Rumor spread around the school, and several media outlets clamored to get a piece of the story. Rewards were offered to any student who could capture this beast on film, and anyone who could retrieve this thing alive would be granted immediate completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Over the years since, hundreds of photos and video footage have turned up claiming to feature this famous creature of Clayton State, who has since come to be known as Loch the Laker. While no solid proof has been offered to verify that this creature actually exists, many claim to have encountered Loch, notably former Director of Public Information Jerry Atkins, and former Director of Student Life Rob Taylor, who was once seen scuba diving in the lake, looking for Loch. Based on these accounts, evidence seems to indicate that he is friendly, and just wants to interact with students, faculty and staff. This would explain Loch’s many sightings at soccer and basketball games and several other university functions. Indeed, when the Clayton State intercollegiate athletic program, which is celebrating its 20th year this year as well, began in 1990, Loch was made the Lakers’ mascot.

(Editor’s Note: The preceding “Legend of Loch” is based on a story concocted by the creative talents of the late Robert “Bo’ Bolander, Clayton State’s dean of Students during most of his 32 years at Clayton State. In reality, many noted Clayton State students have worn the Loch costume over the years, including former Bent Tree editor Kevin Dixon and former SGA President Brian Magill. Rumor has it that Associate Dean of Students Jeff Jacobs, during his days as director of Student Life, even took a few turns in the outfit.)
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