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A Legend in Stone

The Memorial Belltower is one of NC State’s best-known symbols and among its most Hallowed Places, but how much do you really know about its extraordinary story?

The Memorial Belltower, its cornerstone dating to 1921, was built to honor the sacrifice of NC State alumni who lost their lives to military service in World War I. The Shrine Room, as the space at the tower’s base is known, contains a plaque listing their names. Now one of our campus’s most Hallowed Places, the tower stands as the best-known symbol of our university, a landmark and gateway to campus. It has become a place of reflection as well as celebration, bringing together generations of the Wolfpack in one iconic location.

Powered by a lead gift from the Henry family to the university’s Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign, an amazing 2019-21 completion and restoration project added 55 bells, at long last, as well as other improvements. Throughout the project, we shared the story of the Belltower’s history, makeover, philanthropic support and more — a story of people that was a century in the making. The following are some of those important features.

At Long Last, Bells

For a century, NC State’s Memorial Belltower was missing something vitally important. That all changed in the summer of 2020 thanks to the hard work, dedication and financial support of our Pack.

A crane preparing to lower a bell into the Belltower.
When it comes to the Memorial Belltower, seeing is believing — as this tribute video proves.

All in Good Chime

As a new chapter of Belltower history begins, alumni carillonneurs share a few of their favorite memories of playing concerts as students.

A handwritten list of songs which were played on the carillon on Jan 26, 1979.

Memorial Belltower Virtual Tour

See the Legend in Stone like never before — from the inside, around and even above — via cutting-edge mapping technology.

A 3-D view of the Memorial Belltower
Watch as bells were finally lowered into the Memorial Belltower’s belfry after a century of waiting.

Help Power the Pack

Proceeds from the Belltower Collection line of clothing, inspired by the Memorial Belltower, go to support NC State students via a special scholarship endowment.

A Century in the Making

Learn how the team that planned and executed the Memorial Belltower’s completion and restoration project worked hard to maintain the site’s historic integrity and build on the work of those who came (decades) before them.

The Belltower as seen from above.
Listen as Dr. Tom Stafford, NC State’s vice chancellor for student affairs emeritus and the de facto historian for the university’s Memorial Belltower, discusses this hallowed landmark’s history from inside the carillon room itself.

Sharing a Key to NC State’s Past

Whether telling surprising stories while leading tours of the Memorial Belltower or unlocking its door for surprise photos, Dr. Tom Stafford, NC State’s vice chancellor for student affairs emeritus, serves as a keeper of the flame of Wolfpack spirit.

Dr. Tom Stafford speaking to a tour group in the shrine room.
Tom Stafford’s Memorial Belltower tours include a stop in the Shrine Room. Photo by Marc Hall.