The Four Crosses of Truett Campus

November 6, 2023

Around George W. Truett’s Waco campus, four crosses remain a diverse collective, reminding our community of a shared faith: the Steeple Cross, the Clock Tower Cross, the Empty Cross, and the Rolf Cross. These four crosses, while different, collectively symbolize and bear witness to the cross of Christ and, more important still, to the Christ of the cross.

1. Steeple Cross

This sizable, simple, gilded-gold cross, the Steeple Cross, has adorned the spire of the Paul W. Powell Chapel since May 30, 2001. Rising above the new Hurd Welcome Center, the cross can be seen from Interstate 35. In seeing the Steeple Cross, the hope is that people might be drawn not simply to the cross but to the Christ of the cross who declared that if he be lifted up and draw all people unto himself (see John 12:32). Additionally, one can hope that when people see the Steeple Cross they might also infer what happens within the Seminary’s building marked by the sign of the cross.

2. Clock Tower Cross

Another external cross, the Clock Tower Cross, which may be referred to as the Truett Cross, is not as visible as the Steeple Cross but remains particularly prominent when one is on the back side of the building. This cross also appears in various places and in much smaller forms throughout the building. Adopted in 1994 to represent the Seminary, the flame at the top of the cross represents the Holy Spirit; the crosspiece represents an open Bible; and the shaft represents the cross itself. The Truett Cross testifies that the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit bear witness to the crucified Christ.

3. The Empty Cross

The Empty Cross, also external to the building, is well-situated so that people who are approaching the Seminary from Baylor’s main campus might see it. Designed by Christian sculptor Max Greiner, Jr., Truett’s Empty Cross weighs 536 pounds and is seven feet seven inches tall, representing perfection. This contemporary rendition of the cross celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Baugh-Reynolds campus, which was dedicated on February 22, 2022. Made of reddish-brown Cor-teen steel — as to represent the blood that Jesus shed on the cross — the cross’s empty or hollow design of the cross signifies that Jesus passed from crucifixion to resurrection.

4. Rolf Cross

A fourth on the Waco campus may be seen above the mantle of the fireplace in the Paul and Katy Piper Great Hall. This most recent addition to Truett’s cross collection, the

Mantle Cross, which was received and hung on April 21, 2022, might also be thought of and spoken of as the Rolf Cross. This wooden cross, made of walnut from a Georgia homestead, was hand-crafted by Dr. Howard Rolf. Dr. Rolf, a member of First Baptist Church of Waco and a generous scholarship donor to the seminary, taught mathematics at Baylor for 35 years before retiring in 1998.