Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bell Tower provides symbol NCSU can identify with

On the far eastern side of North Carolina State University's campus sits its main symbol: the Memorial Bell Tower. The bell tower was initially built to honor the NC State alumni who perished in World War I, though it wasn't started until 1920. The Great Depression stalled efforts on construction, and it wasn't totally completed until 1937.

The 115-foot monument contains 1,400 tons of stone set on a 700-ton concrete base, and exceeded $150,000 in cost. Although 33 NC State alumni died in the war, the memorial plaque inside the base of the tower has 34 names written on it. One alumnus had wrongly been reported killed in action. His name, G. L. Jeffers, was changed to G. E. Jefferson to symbolize unknow soldiers at NCSU and elsewhere.

Just recently, red floodlights were installed around the bell tower. These illuminate the bell tower in red light on nights of events special to the University. According to the Chancellor's website, these include commencements, major athletic victories, honors convocation and the presentation of NCSU with various awards. The bell tower remains the primary symbol of NC State and a memorial to its own fallen soldiers.

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