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Climb the Bell Tower

How many steps? 128. How’s the view? Awesome. All Carolina alumni and fans are invited to see for yourself when you climb the Bell Tower prior to each Saturday home football game. Take in the stunning views from this campus landmark. Thanks to GAA member dues for making this experience possible.

The Bell Tower Climb opens three hours prior to kickoff and closes 45 minutes before the start of each Saturday home football game.

  • Sept. 2: California, 12:20 p.m.
  • Sept. 9: Louisville, 12 p.m.
  • Sept. 23: Duke, TBA
  • Oct. 7: Notre Dame, TBA
  • Oct. 14: Virginia, TBA
  • Oct. 28: Miami, TBA (Homecoming)
  • Nov. 18: Western Carolina, TBA (Military Appreciation)

Fun Facts on the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

  • Dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 1931, the Bell Tower was a gift to UNC from John Motley Morehead, class of 1891, and Rufus Lenoir Patterson, to commemorate the dedication the two families had to the University.
  • The architecture firm, McKim, Mead and White oversaw the project which began construction in March 1930.
  • The Bell Tower cost $100,000 to build (that’s about $1,371,880 today).
  • The Bell Tower stands at 172 feet tall, and the clock face is nine feet wide.
  • The tower is made of red brick and Indiana limestone, with Guastavino tile work in the arches.
  • The tower is surrounded by a maze-like landscape of lawn and hedges designed by William C. Coker, the botany professor who created the campus Arboretum.
  • The original belfry had a carillon of 12 bells that weighed a total of 14,350 pounds.
  • The largest bell, which tolls the hours, is engraved with the name of Governor John Motley Morehead, a past president of the UNC General Alumni Association. The remaining bells are also engraved with names of the Morehead and Patterson families.
  • In 1998, two additional bells were gifted by Lucinda Wilcox ’58 to give the tower a bigger musical repertoire.
  • Today, there are 14 bells programed by a digital keyboard.
  • The bell tolls every 15 minutes and will occasionally play songs such as “Hark the Sound” or “Carolina Victory.”
  • Chancellor James Moeser was the first chancellor to light the tower at night. The tower has remained lit at night by privately-funded lights since Sept. 14, 2004.
  • Each year on the eve of the First Day of Class, the GAA, with the Order of the Bell Tower, illuminates the Bell Tower in blue and white at the Bell Tower Relighting, in celebration of the start of a new academic school year.
Point of Contact

Tanea Pettis '95
Manager of Affinity Activities Affinity/Special Interest Activities, Light on the Hill Society Scholarship
919-843-9694
read my bio

Tanea has been a member of the GAA staff since 1998.  She currently serves as manager of affinity activities, overseeing affinity/special interest reunions, athletics, Homecoming, the Light on the Hill Society scholarship, local outreach and young alumni programming.  She’s a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., carries her NOOK with her wherever she goes and has a large collection of Coca-Cola bottles from across the world in her office.