Thanks to the generosity of one of its dedicated donors, Limestone College’s new Cunning Victory Bell Tower could be ringing across campus as early as this weekend.
The Bell Tower, located near the quarry and directly between Limestone’s front campus and outdoor athletics facilities, was made possible through a gift by Dr. Charles “Chuck” Cunning, in memory of his late wife, Barbara.
It will be playing the College’s “Blue & Gold” fight song following wins, at home or away, by any of Limestone’s 25 athletic teams. The Saints have three games scheduled for Saturday, including football against West Alabama and men’s and women’s soccer taking on conference rival Belmont Abbey.
Dr. Cunning retired from Limestone in May of 2016 following 21 years of service to the College. In addition to serving in other roles during his time at Limestone, he worked for a number of years as Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Executive Vice President. He was granted Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Vice President Emeritus of Academic Affairs upon retirement.
“This Bell Tower will not only announce our many victories in the athletics arena, but it adds to the beauty of our campus and will, no doubt, be a meeting place and destination for students, faculty, alumni, and the community,” said Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker. “We appreciate so much the generosity of the Cunnings who love this institution so dearly. This addition to our campus will add yet another component when it comes to the quality of life for our students and our community. This gift from Chuck and his family will impact Limestone and Gaffney is so many ways.”
Once work on the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex is complete, a campus connector walkway will link the Cunning Victory Bell Tower to both the upper and lower sections of campus.
"Dr. Cunning served Limestone with distinction for over 20 years as an administrator and professor and has guided generations of students and faculty both as a friend and as a mentor,” said Mike Cerino, Limestone’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “The only thing better than having this new Bell Tower is having it named in memory of such a special person in Barbara Cunning.”
One of the key features of the Cunning Victory Bell Tower is the bell itself, which once hung from the top of the Curtis Administration Building. The bell was casted by Goulds Manufacturing Company in Seneca Falls, NY and was acquired by the institution in the late 1800s, at a time when the College was known as the Cooper-Limestone Institute for Young Ladies.
The bell, which measures 24 inches in width at the lower edge and weighs 153 pounds, was used for several decades by Limestone to summon resident students to their meals and classes. Removed from its position atop the Curtis building in 1998 and placed into storage, the bell was refurbished in 2018 and placed in the Cunning Victory Bell Tower to proudly ring out the victories by Limestone's athletic teams.
“Barbara loved Limestone dearly, and we loved her right back, along with the entire Cunning family,” noted Chris Phenicie, Limestone’s Vice President for Admissions Services. “I am proud to call Chuck a former colleague and dear friend. I cannot think of a better way to honor Barbara’s legacy than this gift from Chuck and his family. Like many others, each and every time I hear that bell ring, I will celebrate a Limestone victory and also remember Barbara and what she meant to so many of us.”