An old ACU tradition is set to be reignited Friday after Chapel as the resounding clang of a bell honors Homecoming once again.
In 1980, Mrs. B.C. Freddie Goetz Goodpasture, Mandy Goetz Myers and Marky Goetz Pace donated a locomotive bell to ACU in memory of Fremont Goetz. The bell, cast in 1895, was incorporated into a monument presented by the class of 1980 in honor of Garvin V. Beauchamp, who served as dean, vice president and coach of an undefeated football team.
Bell-ringing has always been a feature of life on campus, but on Homecoming weekend, ringing the Goetz-Beauchamp bell was a tradition in and of itself. Following Chapel on the Friday of Homecoming, freshmen were responsible for ringing the bell continuously until the game on Saturday. Sophomores, juniors and seniors would attempt to stop the freshmen from ringing the bell through horseplay and roughhousing, sometimes in the name of pledging.
The tradition continued through the 90s, but the class rivalries escalated. Samantha Adkins, senior alumni relations officer, said after one violent incident, a student was left with a broken nose. Ultimately, the bell was removed.
“ACU Campus Police just felt that it was time to stop,” said Adkins. “There was a lot of concern about other future injuries.”
The monument is still standing today, located between the Money Student Wellness and Center and the McGlothlin Campus Center. The Goetz-Beauchamp bell was restored to the monument this year by Physical Resources after it was found in storage.
With the new tradition of the King of Campus Court, Zack Morgan and the Student Alumni Association saw an opportunity to give would-be Homecoming kings a greater role on campus by reviving an old tradition.
“Winning has to mean something,” said Morgan, senior biology major from Keller. “When we found out the bell was back, we thought it would be a great opportunity to help reshape a tradition that had gone a little awry.”
The modified tradition will still begin after Homecoming weekend’s Friday chapel, but the newly appointed King of Campus Court will be responsible for ringing the bell initially before turning it over to the freshman class. The bell will be rungÂ continuously by cycles of freshmen until Saturday’s game-with no chance of upperclassmen interference.
“If any upperclassmen do anything to try and deter them from ringing the bell, there will be some pretty staunch consequences,” said Morgan.
Morgan said ringing the bell will make the King of Campus Court more relevant to Homecoming weekend. The King will also be leading the Homecoming parade.
“I think a lot of seniors will feel like they maybe missed out,” said Morgan. “Hopefully juniors and sophomores will be excited about getting the opportunity in the coming years.”