MOVING FORWARD:

A formal ribbon cutting by the Missouri Southern Foundation for the newly completed Plaster Hall portico is scheduled for the beginning of December.

A formal ribbon cutting by the Missouri Southern Foundation for the newly completed Plaster Hall portico is scheduled for the beginning of December.

Christina Faris

– Plaster Hall is named after Robert W. Plaster for his philanthropy and support of higher education.

– Plaster attended Joplin Junior College in the 1950s as an accounting student.

– Plaster’s donation to the Missouri Southern Foundation is the largest donation given to the Foundation to date.

– Plaster has supported several higher education institutions across the state of Missouri, including Missouri Southern, Southwest Baptist University, School of the Ozarks, Crowder College and Missouri State University.

– Plaster, was a founding member of the Students In Free Enterprise program which develops community outreach projects.

This marks the end of our series, MOVING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK

LOOKING BACK: Tones of the past rings out today

When the sound of chimes echoes from Billingsly Student Center many students may not realize what is inside.

Years ago, President Emeritus Julio León wanted chimes for Missouri Southern to unify the campus with their traditional sound. León worked until the school had bells ringing on campus. Approved in June of 1987, Southern’s electronic carillon was installed on Aug. 14, of the same year.

León traveled to different colleges and wanted a bell tower at Southern. He originally wanted one built, but determined that it was not feasible at the time and settled for the electronic version instead.

The larger version of a set of chimes, a carillon has anywhere from 23 to 77 bells and a history dating back to 15th Century Europe. The carillon bells are played from a large keyboard, and these bells are still popular in southern Europe.

The initial plan was to use the bells to call students to class, but they are set to chime on the hour.

“It originally started that it was to chime ten minutes before classes so the students knew class was about to begin,” said Sharon Odem, secretary to the president and Board of Governors.

The bells’ rings are controlled by a microprocessor based digital electronic program, but programmed by the operator and the sound is projected and amplified through exterior speakers.

Southern’s electronic carillon is a digital Chronobell with cartridge carillon from the Mass-Rowe company of Escondido, Calif.

“The funniest thing about it is the sounds like bells ringing but it’s really a compact disc player,” said Charles Nodler, Missouri Southern’s archivist.