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College of the Ozarks to install The Empty CrossTM, work of artist Max Greiner, Jr.

The Empty CrossTM is made of COR-TEN® steel. It will stand 40 feet tall and will be wide enough at the base for an individual to walk through the structure.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks will install a 40-foot Empty CrossTM in the entrance of campus this spring. The cross will serve as a symbol of the Christian faith upon which the College was founded and a reminder to all who enter and exit that Christ is the center of the campus.

In April, the sculpture will be set in the center of the roundabout. The Empty CrossTM is made of COR-TEN® steel. It will stand 40 feet tall and will be wide enough at the base for an individual to walk through the structure. The footing for The Empty CrossTM is 14 ft x 14 ft, and it weighs 28,000 lbs.

Viewing benches will be available at the west side of The Keeter Center and will be installed in the Rex Cowherd Plaza. Guests may also enjoy an additional viewing area on the deck of the Welcome Center at Patriots Park. These areas will allow guests to view the artwork at their leisure, take photos, and experience the picturesque scenery of the campus through the lens of the cross.  

“The Empty CrossTM, by artist Max Greiner, is aptly named — as Jesus is no longer there,” said College of the Ozarks President Brad Johnson. “He is risen and sits at the right hand of God. This symbol, placed at the entrance of campus, represents our deep Christian faith. It also serves as a reminder to those who live, work, and study on campus to view the world through the truth of Christ’s redemptive work at the cross.”

Johnson envisioned the addition of the Empty Cross after arriving on campus to begin serving in his role as president and hearing the sentiments of the campus family. The reaction across campus to the proposed installation is one of excitement and hope. Seth Miller, sophomore biblical and theological studies major, looks to the cross as a symbol and reminder.    

The Empty CrossTM on campus will make clear to the world who we affiliate ourselves with, which is Christ,” Miller said. “The cross will show to all those entering the Gates of Opportunity that it is the cross that matters most to us. I have seen the Lord move in my life on this campus through the amazing community that I have been surrounded by. My professors have encouraged me through their visible intentionality and their genuine desire to see students prosper. I think that having the cross as our foremost icon may aid in setting what matters most. My heart for this campus is for people to truly make Christ the foundation and priority in everything they do, whether they are an engineering, business, or biblical studies major.”

“The cross is a common symbol in our world, but The Empty CrossTM tells the story that Christ is no longer on the cross but has risen to life to become our Savior. It tells the story of hope and salvation, and eternal life with our Heavenly Father,” Johnson said.

More about the artist, Max Greiner, Jr.

Max Greiner, Jr., is a professional artist and designer with experience in the broad fields of art, architecture, graphic design, landscape architecture, photography, advertising, public relations, writing, education, and public speaking. Greiner’s drawings, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and art gift designs are collected in all 50 states and more than 65 countries. Greiner’s work can be found in private and corporate collections and on the campuses of businesses, colleges, and seminaries. Today, Greiner and his wife, Sherry, donate much of their time and resources to The Coming King Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit art museum in Kerrville, Texas.

The Empty CrossTM composition uniquely communicates the Resurrection, that Jesus is alive, not dead. Its “hollow” or “empty” design allows light to pass through, symbolizing the “Light of the World” (John 8: 12) that comes to us through the cross. The openness of the design communicates that all people are welcome at the foot of the cross. This is the “Open Door” all must pass through to find eternal life in Heaven (Matthew 7: 7 & 8). Finally, the cross also represents the price Jesus paid for everyone at His Crucifixion.

In Honorarium – The Rex Cowherd Plaza

The Rex Cowherd Plaza is named in honor of longtime College of the Ozarks Board of Trustee Member Gary Rex Cowherd. A student athlete and graduate of The School of the Ozarks in 1962, Cowherd was a true success story. A man of deep faith, he was known for his love of God, family, and friends. His story – from humble beginnings to corporate executive at Walmart – is a reminder to all Hard Work U. students, staff, faculty, and friends, that determination, faith, and hard work are the recipe for a life guided by his favorite phrase – Jesus paid it all.  

Rex Cowherd passed away in December 2022 and left behind a noble legacy. Prior to his passing, Cowherd was aptly named Board Member Emeritus for College of the Ozarks – a high honor bestowed upon a man of great faith and service.

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