clockThe Frances B. Ross Millennium Tower was erected on Tuesday, Sept. 29, on the plaza in front of the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center. The carillon bell tower now anchors the east side of campus, providing students, faculty and staff an artistic reminder of Mrs. Ross’s support for the college. In addition to an accurate timepiece, the clock tower includes carillon bells that will play a variety of musical selections.

“It was exciting this morning to watch the Frances B. Ross Millennium Tower being hoisted to its permanent location,” said Dr. Greg Powell, Panola College President. “The Tower is beautiful and I believe that it will quickly become a landmark for the college and our community. Mrs. Ross has long been a generous supporter of Panola College and it is gratifying to see the tangible impact of her legacy throughout our campus.”

The 30-foot Millennium Tower includes four, four-foot diameter illuminated clocks, a complete digital carillon system with a 240-watt amplifier, external speakers, four external projection horns, and bells. The music library comprises a wide range of carillon bell music, including songs and carols, Westminster clock chime melody, hour-strike, and favorite hymns. The system has the ability to schedule changes of libraries as the holiday seasons change, such as patriotic holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, summer, spring, etc.

In addition to the aesthetic enhancement to campus, The Frances B. Ross Millennium Tower will serve as a centrally located emergency management system for campus-wide announcements.

Constructed by the Verdin Company of Ohio, the tower was delivered and assembled on site at Panola College. Since 1842, the Verdin family has been in the business of casting bronze bells, creating carillons, electronic digital bells, tower clocks, street clocks and other streetscape furnishings.

Carillon bells have a long and storied history, dating back to medieval times. The ringing of bells was used as a form of communication in the past for small communities and towns. Farmers and ranchers in the past called workers in for meals using a bell, and used the bells as an alert system for family, friends and neighbors.


From left, Panola College President Dr. Greg Powell, Carol Vincent, Ray Schieffer, Susan Schieffer and Director of Institutional Advancement Jessica Pace visit the new Frances B. Ross Millennium Tower.

(Photos and Story Courtesy of Teresa Beasley)