Completing three decades on campus, Alumni Tower undergoes cleanup, renovations

Pressure washing takes place at the Alumni Tower on Wednesday, June 12.

An iconic landmark on campus is undergoing some renovations during its 30th anniversary year at Western Carolina University.

The Alumni Tower, erected during WCU’s 100th year in 1989, is getting pressure washed, rust prevention applications, clock repair and some other work done by an independent contractor and the Department of Facilities Management.

The work continues through Friday, Aug. 2, with areas around the tower inaccessible to pedestrians while repairs are being made. Crews also will reinforce the parapet wall of the tower.

The 66-foot tall brick structure was a gift from alumni to their alma mater, and made possible through a $350,000 fundraising effort. Dedicated at Centennial Homecoming Day on Oct. 28, 1989, then-Chancellor Myron Coulter said in accepting the gift on behalf of the university that the tower was “not a monument, not just bricks and mortar. It’s a place, a spirit, a life ― the life of WCU.

“We feel that in this Alumni Tower we have arrived with a symbol of Western Carolina University, a symbol that will last forever and one that will grow increased in meaning to all of us here today and to those thousands of young people who will come after us,” Coulter said.

The Alumni Tower is a campus focal point, a gathering place, a rendezvous and directional marker. It also holds the old “Victory Bell,” which originally hung in Madison Hall and marked class periods and was later used to celebrate football wins.