Encyclopedia of UNCG History

An online resource for exploring the history of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Clocktower in the snow, 1995
Clocktower in the snow, 1995

Standing near the southwest end of the Dining Hall, near the Jackson Library Tower, is UNCG’s University Clocktower. The Clocktower was a gift to the University by members of the Class of 1941 as part of their 50th class reunion. The Class raised approximately $45,000 to support the construction of the Clocktower in 1991.

On October 4, 1991, as part of the University’s Centennial Celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding, UNCG held a groundbreaking ceremony, featuring leaders from the Class of 1941 reunion committee along with Ann H. Gaither (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Dr. Richard Moore (Vice Chancellor for Development and University Relations) and Chancellor William E. Moran.

Alumna Charlotte Abbate of Durham (Class of 1982) was selected as the project’s designer and architect. Commenting on the Clocktower’s design, Abbate said, “While clocktowers are found on other college and university campuses, the design of this one is very much unique to UNCG. Our objective was to design the clocktower using materials and images that relate to the surrounding architecture at the University.” To accomplish this, Abbate used four large concrete columns inspired by columns found at the entrance to the Dining Hall. Additionally, the tubular steel design in the clocktower drew from similar steel tubing used in the Dining Hall and Spencer Residence Hall.

A year and a half after the groundbreaking ceremony, the University Clocktower was completed and officially dedicated on Saturday, May 15 in a 2pm ceremony held as part of UNCG’s commencement weekend as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the UNCG Alumni Association. Four members of the Class of 1941 participated in the ceremony. Anne Braswell Rowe of Wilmington, Helen Fondren Lingle of Osprey, Fla., Mildred Younts of Greensboro, and Elizabeth Booker of Greensboro represented their classmates in officially presenting the gift of the 17-feet-high Clocktower to the University.

While a plaque noting the Clocktower as a gift from the Class of 1941 lies directly underneath the structure, many students never see or read it. Campus tradition holds that walking under the Clocktower means that you won’t graduate on time. Some students even take the extra steps to avoid the bricks expanding from underneath the Clocktower altogether.