A Homecoming Week event with historical significance is set for Friday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m., when Ferris State University’s Carillon Tower is commemorated in a 50th-anniversary ceremony on the Campus Quad.
The Ferris History Task Force has arranged for this ceremony, and Humanities Department Chair and Music Professor Scott Cohen said they are pleased to join in this celebration of the Tower, which is supervised by his department.
“The music from the chimes of the Carillon Tower has been an iconic part of North Campus for a half a century, now,” Cohen said. “It has accompanied generations of students, faculty, staff and visitors as they’ve bustled across campus.”
Many are familiar with the Carillon Tower, which chimes on the hour and plays campus standards such as “Fighting Bulldogs” and “Ferris Fidelity.” However, few know the building was the brainchild of 1915 alumnus Norman Borgerson, of Lowell, Michigan.
Borgerson sent a letter to President Victor Spathelf, expressing his dream of having a Carillon Tower built on campus. He even included a check to start the campaign. With Spathelf’s enthusiastic support, Student Government took up the fundraising challenge. This effort included redirecting funds that had been earmarked for a bronze bulldog statue in favor of the Carillon Tower, which student leaders felt would have more impact on the entire campus. The committee was guided by Dean of Students Donald Rankin and Pharmacy student Fred Lutzke, an inspired Student Government member, was campaign chair. Dacho Dachoff, Ferris’ long-serving director of Music Activities, was a prominent participant in this effort. The collaboration by alumni, faculty, staff and friends successfully raised the necessary funds to construct the Tower. The fundraising goal was exceeded by $2,000.
Architecture professor Jim Shane designed the Carillon Tower for the campus, which was dedicated during the 1968 Homecoming festivities. Both Lutzke and Shane will return for the Sept. 28 ceremony to reflect on their roles with the iconic campus symbol. The chimes in the tower are typically played through an automatic electronic device, but it can also be played on a keyboard housed in the Music Center. Associate Professor of Music Matt Moresi will play the chimes during the ceremony.
History Task Force members will offer their current Ferris History Calendar to those attending the celebration, along with commemorative Carillon Tower buttons, which were specially created for this event. Carillon Tower-themed refreshments will also be provided.
In the event of rain, the celebration will be held in the Music Center. Anyone with disabilities who wishes to have special accommodations to attend the event should contact History Task Force member Mary Kay MacIver by email, or by calling (231) 591-3739.
Follow the conversation, in social media, using #FerrisHC2018.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Carillon Tower above Ferris State University’s Music Center will be the focus of a 50th-anniversary celebration on Friday, Sept. 28, beginning at 4 p.m.