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C of I begins fundraiser to repair clock tower

On November 30, 1990, Boise philanthropist Velma Morrison pressed a button to personally sound the chimes on a new landmark for The College of Idaho’s quadrangle — the Velma Morrison Centennial Clock Tower, where students still meet and pass by on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the once familiar Westminster chime melody that once sounded across campus has been silent for years. The 26-year-old tower remains a positive presence on the College’s grounds, yet the time on its four faces has frozen – the hour hand and minute hand haven’t moved in years. Today, the College begins a special fundraiser to complete much needed repairs to the clock tower’s functionality, seeking to bring the tower’s soothing sound back to a new generation of students.

“We don’t know how long it hasn’t been working for sure,” said Sarah Nash ’09, director of the College’s Boone Fund. “We’ve looked around, but it’s been on campus for almost 27 years now and it hasn’t worked for the majority of the time. We’re ready to change that.”  

The 34-foot-high tower was a $125,000 gift from Velma Morrison and the Harry W. Morrison Foundation, built to commemorate the College’s 100th birthday. At its dedication ceremony in the late fall of 1990, C of I President Robert Hendren thanked the Morrisons for their gift and called it “the beginning of a C of I tradition.”

The Harry W. Morrison Foundation has again stepped in to give a gift for the clock tower’s repair, offering a match of $6,000 if the College can raise $6,000 of its own to go directly toward reprogramming the tower’s aged and obsolete timekeeping and chiming mechanisms. For the first time, the College is utilizing crowdfunding in an effort to gather funds for this specific project.

“The estimate we have for the repair is $12,000,” Nash said. “Between the Morrison gift and the $6,000 we can raise together, we should have enough to complete the clock tower.”

Any additional funds raised past the $6,000 the College is seeking will also go toward future facility repairs and updates.

“We’re excited to try crowdfunding at The College of Idaho,” Nash said. “This is a good opportunity and the perfect project to do it with. It’s such a unique project and cause. We’re excited for the tower to be back.”

Donations for the clock tower’s repair can be made at empower.collegeofidaho.edu.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.