By SHAYLA DUVAL
Students may have noticed the sounds of the Westminster echoing while pulling into the Lake House parking lot. Each and every “ding dong” would not be possible without Dr. Chris Hammons, dean of the School of Humanities, Dr. Doni Wilson, associate professor of English, and the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.
During the month of June, an electronic carillon system was purchased from Verdin, a company founded in 1842 and known for making cast bronze bells, clocks and bell towers.
Within the same month, it was installed by Verdin technicians and Hammons himself, who assisted technicians. The money was raised through Alpha Chi’s membership funds. This project has been a decade in the making.
“We had been, over the past 10 years, raising funds for some sort of campus beautification service project, but we didn’t want to do something like recycling or donating piece of art,” Hammons said.
Hammons headed this project. He wanted to ensure that the money donated by Alpha Chi benefited the campus in a positive manner. Hammons submitted a proposal to the financial committee to start the process. Upon hearing about the idea, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. approved, agreeing that this would be a great addition to the campus.
Sharon Saunders, vice president of University relations, said she voiced a lot of support when Hammons came to her about the idea of having a carillon.
“I think any time you have sounds that create memories, that create traditions, those are the types of things that people remember from their experiences as students,” Saunders said.
The carillon consists of two high-tech, directional speakers. Two more are in the process of being installed on top of Hinton.
The speakers face the residence halls and the student parking lot to avoid disrupting classes in the academic buildings.
It has no official name but Alpha Chi and Hammons call it the “century carillon” with hopes of obtaining an authentic version of it in the years to come.
“We just recently had our 50th anniversary so our hope is that maybe by the next 50th anniversary, which will be a century at the University, someone will donate a real brass system,” Hammons said.