Oglethorpe University
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Our Presidents

Brief History of Oglethorpe University

Detailed History of Oglethorpe University

Oglethorpe Historical Timeline

Oglethorpe's 42-Bell Carillon

Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe

Alma Mater

Notable Alumni

Crypt of Civilization

International Time
Capsule Society


2005 Carillon Ceremony

The construction of Lupton Hall in 1919 included a clock tower and chimes for both aesthetic and practical applications. The four bells were a gift from Mrs. Fredrick Lesh of Newton Center, MA, who was the sister of Mrs. Thornwell Jacobs. The largest of the original four bells (weighing 2,000 lbs.) bears the inscription, “Given by Grace Josephine Lesh, that the hours at Oglethorpe might be filled with music and harmony”. The chimes helped to guide the daily schedules of the people of Oglethorpe University and were designed to strike mechanically Westminster quarter-hour chimes and hour toll.

Further donations brought the total number of bells to ten as of November 1929. These ten bells were equipped with electrical striking and a one octave console was installed allowing the playing of limited musical scores.

In January of 1972, due to the deterioration of the oak timber frame supporting the bells, the frame and bells were removed as part of a renovation plan for Lupton Hall. The ten bells were sent to Cincinnati, Ohio for sounding. In December of the same year, twenty-five new bells and a new steel tower were installed. Also, seven additional bells were ordered to be installed the following spring to bring the total bell count to forty-two.

The Oglethorpe University 42-bell Carillon is the only cast bronze bell carillon in Georgia. The carillon is now equipped with a double-banked console, allowing unlimited musical scores to be played, as well as an automatic player with chime quarter-hour Westminster, hour strike and toll, and a coded tape deck that will play pre-selected music on the bells.

In 2005, a new tradition was started at Oglethorpe:  the Carillon Ceremony, where graduating seniors get the opportunity to ring one of the carillon bells by hand.