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Funding campaign to repair iconic C of I clock tower successful

September 26, 2017

“Time” was of the essence in The College of Idaho’s first ever crowdfunding campaign — and with the Velma Morrison Centennial Clock Tower continuing to stand its vigil on the College’s campus, the C of I community rallied to complete it twice as fast as predicted.

Just 15 days into the College’s campaign to raise money for repairs on the clock tower’s frozen clock faces and faulty timekeeping mechanisms, the community came together to meet the $6,000 goal, adding their funds together with a matching $6,000 gift from the Harry W. Morrison Foundation to secure the necessary funding to bring the tower’s proud chimes back to campus.

“It was a brand new thing coming from the College of Idaho, but as we should have predicted, the Yotes far exceeded our expectations,” said Sarah Nash ’09, director of the College’s Boone Fund. “It’s beyond everything we expected and we’re blown away by everyone’s generosity.”

The College began the campaign to repair the 26-year-old tower on Sept. 1, and the community quickly responded with strong support. By the end of the first 48 hours, the College had already raised over 50% of its $6,000 goal, with even more donations coming in as Homecoming drew closer. By Sept. 15, the College successfully raised the funding to receive the matching gift from the Morrison Foundation.

Nash said the initial goal is enough to begin Phase One of the repair project, which will repair the tower itself, including its lighting, its time faces, and the computer equipment originally used to control the tower’s chimes and its timekeeping.

However, the computer is currently housed in Sterry Hall, which stands across from the clock tower, to protect it from damage and the elements. To repair the clock tower, the wiring between Sterry Hall and the tower must be dug up from beneath the ground and replaced in order to get the tower operational once again. Thus, any additional funds raised through the campaign beyond the original $6,000 goal will go toward Phase Two of the project, which is repairing the landscaping that will be affected by Phase One’s operations.

“We’re estimating that Phase Two will cost around $3,000,” Nash said. “Whatever doesn’t get covered from the crowdfunding is something we can cover from the Boone Fund, but it’s easier for it to come through the crowdfunding than it is to try and gather it from other budgets.”

Justin Wilkerson, president and chief executive officer of the Harry W. Morrison Foundation, said he was thrilled to see the quick progress the crowdfunding campaign made, and he is honored to continue forward with the legacy his grandmother, Velma Morrison, helped establish in 1990.

“My grandma loved beauty and architecture,” Wilkerson said. “She admired and loved the idea of permanence and leaving a legacy that people can remember. I feel good carrying on that tradition, and I hope to see that tradition stay with the College for a long time.”

Nash said meeting the initial goal has allowed for repairs to officially enter the planning stages, bringing in consultants to determine what exact parts they will need before beginning.

“They’re all excited about the project, and we are too,” Nash said. “It’s past time for the tower to be fixed.”

Donations can be made to the clock tower project here. Future crowdfunding projects at the C of I will be published at empower.collegeofidaho.edu.

“This is the first crowdfunding campaign we’ve done, but it definitely won’t be the last,” Nash said.

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.