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No More Excuses to Be Late

APRIL 21, 2006--UW-River Falls campus has a new timepiece, making it the third outdoor chronometer on the grounds and the newest gathering place for faculty, staff and students.

“The new clock on the mall is a natural meeting place for all us as we move across campus,” said Chancellor Don Betz. “Its four faces will provide accurate time as we are off to our next class, meeting or event. It also symbolizes UW-River Falls’ commitment to a bright future while reminding us that our roots go deep to 1874. I believe that its quality and elegant style captures our enduring yet fresh commitment to excellence.”

The waterproof clock, erected in time for the inauguration of Chancellor Betz April 28, was purchased from and installed by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati. It is constructed of finished cast aluminum with four back-lit dials and weighs 570 pounds at 16 feet 7 inches high. The 24-inch acrylic clock faces offer consistent light diffusion, and the master clock controller provides automatic daylight savings time changes. Hanging plaques note the campus founding in 1874.

“I’ve heard students calling it the ‘Harry Potter’ clock,” said Lisa Marie Stratton, a marketing communications major from Clear Lake, Wis., standards chair of the UW-RF Panhellenic Council and president of Phi Mu.

Since 1842, six generations of the Verdin family of Ohio have created cast bronze bells, carillons, digital bells, clocks, towers, memorials and monuments. The Verdin Co. has more than 30,000 installations world-wide, including the Smithsonian Institute, Walt Disney World, the University of Notre Dame, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the World Peace Bell, and the Mayo Clinic.

Other public timepieces on campus range from the cerebral to a community landmark.

The Richard D. Swensen Sundial spans the south face of the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building. Constructed of anodized aluminum, it is the largest vertical-face sundial in North America. Because it is accurate to one minute on the hour at any given time of the year, it is also the most accurate sundial in the world. Most other sundials are accurate only to within 15 minutes. Named in honor of the former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the sundial was designed by UW-RF physics Professor John Shepherd, who is now retired. It was constructed and installed by donations from alumni and has been a source of fascination for students and visitors to the campus. Artist Gene Olson of Elk River, Minn., was commissioned to construct the sundial.

Along Cascade Avenue, the Kleinpell Carillon and Tower in front of the fine arts building is a visible landmark for the region. Named in honor of Eugene Kleinpell, university president from 1946 to 1967, the tower was completed in time for Homecoming1984. Fundraising for the effort began in the late 1960s, and Roy Sakrison, a graduate of 1912 and UW-RF Foundation Board member, matched half of the cost. The campanile was designed by local architect Lowell Hanson of Spring Valley.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:20 Central Daylight Time

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