tcnj magazine logo

10 things you need to know about … the clock tower

10 things you need to know about … the clock tower

The clock tower, an iconic TCNJ landmark perched atop Green Hall, underwent a $17,000 revitalization in May to upgrade internal and external components worn out from years of use. Both the clock itself and the carillon, the instrument that sounds the bells, were refurbished. In the interest of time, we’ve summarized the clock’s glow up here.

  1. Until this year, TCNJ’s hands of time were powered by a clock manufactured on Jan. 20, 1931 — nine months before Green Hall officially opened.

  2. Alex Novak, head of TCNJ’s electrical shop, is in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of the clock. Some days, he’s had to adjust the aging timepiece multiple times.

  3. As part of the renovation, time is now kept via maintenance-free GPS. “This lifts a big metal weight off my shoulders,” Novak says.

  4. Accessing the tower can be treacherous. Repairmen enter a door that leads to a steep staircase that ends in the dark HVAC-filled cavern above the ceiling. Next, they climb a 20-rung ladder covered in cobwebs to reach a roof hatch to the clock room.

  5. From as far back as 1931, clock tenders have marked their initials on the wooden beams in the clock tower. Students have too: We’re talking about you, Brian H. ’11 and Matty Ice ’22.

  6. TCNJ’s original carillon was purchased with contributions from student organizations and rang bells at the beginning and end of the students’ day.

  7. Today’s chimes are digital and mimic the sound of London’s Big Ben. The college’s alma mater and classics like “God Bless America” commonly sound on campus.

  8. Ken Neill of Neill Carillon Service has managed the clock’s melodies for two decades. Known as “Ken the Clock Man,” he is uniquely qualified: A musician, Neill was a former member of the metal band Twisted Sister.

  9. The clock’s original cedar hands remain a TCNJ fixture: They’re displayed in the office of Heather Fehn ’94, MA ’96, chief of staff to President Kathryn Foster.

  10. Says Fehn: “When you’re in earshot of the alma mater playing, it’s a nice reminder of what we’re doing here.”

Picture: Aaron Wilson Watson ’20

Leave a reply

© The College of New Jersey. All Rights Reserved.