Kuehne Bell Tower lights up for the holiday season


Washburn will kick off the holiday season with the lighting of the Kuehne Bell Tower. The lighting ceremony will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29.

The lighting will take place at the Kuehne Bell Tower at the east lawn of the Memorial Union. Spectators will gather to watch the bell tower light up the night. Washburn President Jerry Farley will be speaking at the event and light the tower decoration.

“It’s a fairly simple event, [we] talk about Toys for Tots, turn on the lights and have cookies,” said Patrick Early, director of public relations at Washburn. “It’s not really long to be involved, but it’s kick-off of the holiday season.”

The holiday lighting will be colorful LED lights going up to the top of the bell tower, which was added last year. It will remain from Nov. 29 to the start of January, and then switch back to the normal white light.

The public is welcome to take part in the celebration with students, faculty and staff. Participants will enjoy holiday music, treats and drinks. It’s a time for students to have a break as they prepare for their finals.

The Kuehne Bell Tower is a symbol of Washburn campus and a mark of the campus history. It was built after the tornado in 1966 with the fund of the Kuehne family. Arthur L. Johnson was the architect who designed the bell tower, invited by the president John Henderson.

In the past, the bell would ring to give the correct time so that the whole campus could hear it. However, it doesn’t ring now because it’s difficult to keep it working well.

The ceremony is the kick-off to the bell tower lighting and also the Toys for Tots collection campaign.

People are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy for the toy drive.

“We have too many teddy bears,” said Farley. “We need toys for children of different ages from three to eight.”

In addition to toys, people who come can also bring books and monetary donations to the campaign. The university Toys for Tots committee can use the money to buy things which meet the children’s need. The monetary donations are important for older kids, because some toys are not necessary enough for older kids who still need things for Christmas.

There will be a representative from the Marine Corps Reserve. The representative will explain to people about the Toys for Tots campaign.

In case of inclement weather, the event may be moved to Washburn A&B. Participants can watch the lighting from Memorial Union from the vantage point inside.