October 16, 2015

The Carver Hall Bell

Carver Hall, Bloomsburg University’s signature building, stands today as a testimony to personal initiative and the powerful impact a few individuals can have. The Carver Hall bell, much like the iconic building in which it resides, is also a symbol of the very powerful and personal nature of giving.

Just two days after the building’s dedication, Henry Carver issued a challenge to three students: David Waller, Jr., George Elwell, and Charles Unangst. These young men were asked by Henry Carver to raise an additional $1,100 to purchase a bell for the tower of the new building. 

Inspired by Carver’s challenge and bold confidence, the students met the goal in just one day. “They got a subscription book, went out, and found subscribers to make contributions for the purpose of purchasing a stationary bell at a cost of not less than $1,000,” said Robert Dunkelberger, Bloomsburg University Archivist, “and this occurred just after the town had already contributed more than $24,000 for the construction of Institute Hall.” A month later, in June 1867, the one-ton bell was hoisted to its position above campus from which it would ring for more than a century.

The last time the bell was rung was January 1, 1989, when it sounded 150 times during a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the dedication of Carver Hall. But with the launch of the It’s Personal campaign, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Carver Hall bell as the symbol of impact and generosity that it was originally intended to be.

For more than 25 years, the one-ton bell has been suspended in silence, but as we move into the public phase of this campaign, the bell will ring again. During the course of the campaign, a member of the Bloomsburg University community who has been directly impacted by a gift will be chosen to ring the bell. 

Though only one person will ring the bell, thousands will hear it, and its sounding will serve as a reminder of the far-reaching impact each gift can have on the continued success of Bloomsburg University.

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