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Rhodes’ Halliburton Tower Sounds Across Campus for 50 Years

Publication Date: 11/30/2012


Every hour, the Halliburton Tower bell sounds across campus. The bell will chime 50 times at noon today in honor of the tower’s 50th birthday this year. The campus also will be treated to a special birthday dessert in the Catherine Burrow Refectory.

The Richard Halliburton Memorial Tower, dedicated in 1962, was the gift of Wesley and Nelle Halliburton of Memphis in memory their son and distinguished world traveler/author Richard Halliburton. The 140-foot tower houses a massive bronze bell—cast in France—that can be heard not only on campus but also in the surrounding neighborhood including the Memphis Zoo.

Considered a Memphis landmark, Halliburton Tower is the tallest building on campus and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Charles E. Diehl—president of the college when it moved from Clarksville, Tenn., to Memphis in 1925—once said, “Appropriate and beautiful surroundings will have a transforming influence upon generation after generation of students and upon the very character of the institution itself. Beauty, like Truth and Goodness, needs but to be expressed.”

May Richard Halliburton Memorial Tower continue to remain one of Rhodes’ and Memphis’ most iconic buildings for generations to come.

Tags: Campus Life, Events


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Rhodes College December 3, 2012

With great appreciation for Dr. Llewellyn′s suggestion below, we include the excerpt he mentions from the book Rhodes College, photographed by William Strode (1985), with an introduction by James E. Roper, Charles E. Glover Professor of English Studies.

And the Great Two-Headed Secret, summed up in the two inscriptions carved into bronze on each side of the majestic bell, which few are aware of and which fewer still will ever gaze upon. Between them they give a fairly good capsule version of the liberal arts education at its best. On commencement day, as the armed and eager graduates head up the aisle with their parchment swords in hand, the five-ton oracle in the Tower bongs on one side to share and incite the up-and-at-′em joy of these freed individuals; the vibrations circle out from the words, The day shall not be up so soon as I/To share the fair adventure of tomorrow. And then it bongs back to the other side to give sober warning that the dragons of success and wealth lie in wait for the unwary, and admonishes in darker tones to usher the departing senior off the campus,
Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

Robert Llewellyn December 2, 2012

"In my time," I discovered that many students (and faculty) did not know the two inscriptions on the Halliburton Tower bell. I made a point of using them both in end-of-the-year remarks at the last meeting of the Faculty in part to pursue the cause of spreading the word about them. It might be worthwhile to add an addendum to this posting and include the inscriptions. They are indeed significant, very much so for what Rhodes aspires to achieve in its students. See James Roper′s introduction in the Strode RHODES book for very appropriate commentary on the two inscriptions.

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