The Weber State University Bell Tower stands 100 feet tall on the Ogden campus, a stalwart beacon for the whole community with a rich history behind it.
The Bell Tower is located in the heart of campus, near the Shepherd Union building, and has its own plaza. The tower is takes up 14 square feet on the ground before it towers upward. The clock has four faces and chimes at the top of each hour for all students, faculty, staff and visitors to hear.
The tower itself was pitched to the institutional council in 1970, according to the WSU Archives. After sketches and a model were drawn up, Mr. and Mrs. Donnell Stewart donated the money to erect the structure and the tower was named the Stewart Bell Tower.
According to WSU Archives and a scrapbook made about the construction and completion of the Stewart Tower, there are four large cast bells inside, which are suspended and visible below the clock faces. An electronic carillon instrument also sits in the tower, and it consists of 61 Flemish bells, 61 harp bells and 61 Celeste bells, for a total of 183 bells.
“As major point of interest, bells throughout the centuries have been interpreted as the voice to the people, and following this tradition, the bells of Weber State carry inscriptions selected by the donors as an admonition and challenge to all who hear their message,” one article in the scrapbook reads.
The bells were cast in Asten, Netherlands, and arrived at WSU in August 1971. Each bell has an inscription in Latin. The first bell reads “Scientiam Discite,” which means “learn understanding.”
The second reads “Sapientiam Capite,” which means “to gain or grasp wisdom.”
The third bell says “Virtutem Agite,” which translates to “practice virtue.”
The fourth and final bell reads “Deum Amate,” meaning “to love God.”
The funds for the tower were donated by the Stewarts, who were former students. They had a love of music and wanted to share a memorial for all future students, faculty and members of Weber State.
The dedication of the structure was to be held across the campus, but on Dec. 14, 1971, the wind chill was below zero, so the ceremony was held inside the Union auditorium. Even though the construction around the plaza was not complete because of the heavy snowfall that year, members of WSU decided to move forward with the dedication.
In 2008, the Bell Tower was rededicated after the university added rock and water features to the surrounding plaza.
In an article from The Signpost about the 2008 rededication, one of WSU’s former presidents, Dean Hurst, was quoted saying, “That Bell Tower has served as an icon that has weathered the weather well.”
Another former president, F. Ann Millner, called it a centerpiece of the Weber State campus.