Student in a green sweater pulls on a yellow rope, the rope of the bell she is ringing.

ASC Decoded: Ringing the Bell

Ringing in congratulations and good news at Agnes Scott


The ASC Decoded series seeks to explain the unique parts of Agnes Scott’s identity that students may have never heard of. Today, we tackle the tradition of seniors “ringing the bell.”

Bronze bell in the belltower

_It’s spring at Agnes Scott, and with spring comes a welcome sound: the ringing of a bell. On campus, hearing the ringing of the bell can only mean one of two things: a special event, such as convocation, beginning, or a more personal special event: the celebration of good news for an Agnes Scott student. 

Ringing the Bell is a newer ASC tradition; while it may seem to be a part of the fabric of campus, there wasn’t even a “bell” to ring until 1986, when Main Hall (also known as Agnes Scott Hall) was renovated.

_The Schulmerich Company of Pennsylvania installed the bell in Main Tower after it was fabricated by the Royal Eijsbouts Company of Holland (showing the continued strong international connection). The bell includes an inscription in Latin which may sound familiar to many older Agnes Scott alums: In fide vestra vertutem in virtute autem scientiam. This former motto of the college means “Add to your faith, virtue, and to your virtue, knowledge.”

Black and white photograph of a bell with an inscription.
Black and white photo of students congregating at the ringing of the bell.

_The bell wasn’t installed with grand intentions toward the tradition it eventually became. Originally, it was used only to call students to special events, including convocations, commencement and the beginning of Black Cat, a purpose which the bell still has. However, in 1992, a group known as the Career Advisory Board (an early version of the current Office of Internship and Career Development) started the idea of students climbing Main Tower to ring the bell to celebrate a graduate school acceptance or a job offer.

_Since 1992, Scotties have rang the bell for all kinds of good news. So far this year, for example, the bell has rung for graduate school acceptances to DePaul University Law School (JD), Emory University (MPH), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (MS), George Washington University (MPH), Morehouse School of Medicine (MD), University of New Mexico (MPH), and University of St. Augustine (MS). It has also rang for job offers from Delta Airlines, Emory Healthcare, and Fitzco, with many more to come throughout March, April, and May.

The tradition, however, has taken on a little twist in 2023. While Main Hall is in the process of being renovated, it was no longer safe for students to climb the belltower and ring the bell. The Office of Internship and Career Development solved this issue by installing a temporary bell in the gazebo on the quad. While it won’t be quite as loud, it will be even more visible and will allow friends and supporters to gather and celebrate.

Student in a green sweater pulls on a yellow rope, the rope of the bell she is ringing.

_Ringing the bell continues to be a mark of good news on campus, and we look forward to the many, many times we hear the bell ring this spring!

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