Each hour of the day the 172 foot Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower rings to remind students and faculty of the generosity of two families associated with the university since its earliest days.
John Motley Morehead, Class of 1891, and Rufus Lenoir Patterson II funded the bell tower's construction. The university dedicated the bell tower on Thanksgiving Day, 1931.
The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower is surrounded by a hedge and lawn designed by William C. Coker, botany professor and creator of the campus Arboretum.
Seniors traditionally have the opportunity to climb the tower's steps and savor the view a few days prior to May commencement.
Student legend holds that the Morehead family wanted to build the campus's first libary, but the Wilson family was given the honor. As a manor of subtle revenge, the hieght and position of the Bell Tower's peak appears directly over the dome of Wilson Libary when seen from the steps of South Building, forming and Dunce Cap.