The Rise and Fall of a Tower — As I walked back to Fretwell after visiting Atkins Library last week, I encountered a tour group led by one of the backwards-walking students employed by the admissions office. “Here,” said the backwards-walking student, “is where the Belk Tower used to be.” I could tell that she wanted to give the rest of her Belk Tower spiel, but she just paused for a few awkward moments and then carried on with her tour. Like the backwards-walking student, I feel a bit disoriented by the sudden disappearance of the Belk Tower.
Built in 1970, the Belk Tower served as a campus focal point for nearly a half-century. In many ways, however, its history extended back much, much further into the past. The historical roots of the Belk Tower can be traced back to the soaring obelisks that the ancient Egyptians built. These obelisks were part of the Egyptians’ passion for monumental architecture. By building structures that soared into the heavens, the Egyptians expressed their ambitions and staked their claim to greatness. Ever since, such structures have played similar roles but in many different contexts. It is no coincidence that the Washington Monument resembles an Egyptian obelisk. The Belk Tower, although not an obelisk, also served as an expression of ambition and a claim to greatness. My hope is that the symbolism associated with the Belk Tower will continue to resonate with the members of our campus even though the tower itself is now memory.
January 21 — The last day to add/drop with no grade.
January 22 — The English Department meeting will take place on January 22, 2016, from 11:00–12:30 in the English Department Conference Room.
Quirky Quiz Question — When the Washington Monument was completed in 1884, it was the tallest structure in the world. However, in 1889 another tower eclipsed it as the world’s tallest structure. What is the name of the tower completed in 1889?