Bringing back the Victory Bell
Ginny Caldwell, former director of alumni relations at Geneva College, remembers the bell ringing for a full five minutes after a victory. As soon as people heard the sound, Caldwell says they would instinctively drop what they were doing and cheer, “Go Geneva!”
But the Old Main bell has announced more than athletic victories. “One 1920 Geneva graduate recalled the bell being run on Armistice Day, November 11, 1917, to alert the students and community that World War I had officially ended” (The Cabinet, January 19, 1990). Until the 1950s, the college even hired students to ring the bell as a signal that classes should change.
Eventually, out of fear that it would fall, the college prohibited students from ringing the bell. When it was restored in 1990, the bell-ringing responsibilities went to Dr. Stewart Lee, professor emeritus of economics. Along with Bob Triance, McCartney Library technician, Lee would hurry up to Old Main and to pull the rope after football victories. But when Dr. Lee moved to Cranberry in 2001, the tradition ceased altogether.
Now, less than a decade later, Old Main’s bell is back in business. The college physical plant has inspected the bell and the tower, and the rope has been lowered to the first floor. Each team captain now has the authority to ring the bell after a victory.
On January 17, members of Geneva College men’s basketball were the first to do the honors. Co-captains Justin Nardi and Nathan Reep rang the bell after an 88-71 win at Thiel College.
- by Rima Warren ’09