Most tourists bring back a key chain from the places they visit. Instead, the 2019 J-term group to China brought back a six-foot tall Terracotta statue.
The Honors Guild freshmen and faculty touched down in Beijing after a 14-hour direct flight from Chicago. In the two weeks that followed, the Honors group visited Xi’an, Nanjing and Shanghai.
“Each city had a different purpose for us being there. We went to Xi’an specifically for the Terracotta Warriors” said Jen Cline, graduate assistant for the Honors Guild.
During the two weeks Associate Professor of Biblical Studies Greg MaGee taught the course Biblical Literature II for Honors students. The students benefited from Magee’s cultural and historical knowledge from the years he lived in China.
From the Great Wall to the Terracotta Army, the Honors group saw some of China’s most astounding attractions. After touring the Terracotta Army on a cold day, students huddled in the gift shop to stay warm.
“There was a display of 15 life-sized statues of all different variety from archers to generals. I was looking at the general and I looked at it a little too long” said Jeff Cramer, Director of the Honors Guild.
What began as a joke soon became a reality. By May, the plans fell into place to buy the Terracotta Warrior nicknamed ‘The General.’
The faculty present on the trip worked together to make it possible. Three months later, The General arrived by ship to Los Angeles and was taken by truck to Indianapolis.
“We took Cramer’s little, red three-seater truck to the Indy airport [to pick up the statue at a] little shipping center,” said sophomore Clare Johnson.
The General now stands in the Spencer Center Office in the Boren Center.
The Terracotta Warrior is not only a tangible memory of the China trip, it is also a scholarship fund for students who will study abroad in Xi’an. The fundraising idea originated from Provost Michael Hammond and soon became a campus-wide endeavor.
“This was a great opportunity to bring a life size replica of a true world treasure to our campus. And I hoped that this would bring a richer appreciation and awareness for China and the Chinese people,” said Hammond.