“Let Freedom Ring!”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Miller F. Whittaker LibraryFor the first time in several years, the SC State University community heard the sounds of chimes ringing throughout campus and the town of Orangeburg.

On Tuesday at 3 p.m., the bell tones played for approximately five minutes from the clock tower atop the Miller F. Whittaker Library on campus. Making the chimes operable again was one of the numerous priorities President Thomas J. Elzey said he wanted to accomplish when he arrived on campus as the university’s 11th president.

“We need to restore the pride that people had in this institution’s glory days. That means restoring some of the special things that they remember about being on the campus of SC State,” Elzey said. “They remember the days when they sat in their classrooms and heard the sounds of the chimes every hour,” he said.

Not only was the sounding of the chimes a long anticipated piece of nostalgia for SC State, it was symbolic as the chimes sounded on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.

SC State joined hundreds of organizations across the country that sounded chimes and rang bells to commemorate the speech’s 50th anniversary. For more than five minutes, faculty, staff, students and visiting alumni listened on campus and celebrated the return of an exciting piece of Bulldog history.

Adrienne Webber, dean of the Miller F. Whittaker Library, recalls the days before the bell tower grew silent. She said hearing the chimes again is a welcomed melody.

“For several years now we have not had a bell or chimes sounding on this campus,” said Webber. “It is so significant for this to be the inaugural ringing of the chimes at the Miller F. Whittaker Library. The national bell ringing ceremony remembering the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech signals a promising future for our students,” she said.

Student Government Association President Akeem Brown is a senior at SC State. During most of his time as a student on campus, he had not heard the chimes.

“Since my freshman year here, I have not heard the bells ring. Hearing them ring today signifies change,” said Brown. “It’s a new day here at SC State University, and it’s a symbol of progress for the nation,” he said.

President Elzey said during today’s inaugural ringing of the library chimes, the university community was able to reflect on a major event in this nation’s history that served as a catalyst and paved the road of opportunity enjoyed by those who have been able to attend the colleges and universities of their choice. The new president looks forward to continue hearing the chimes ring out across campus.