Clock tower: History and Superstitions

Clock tower: History and Superstitions

The infamous NJIT clock tower stands tall, looming above the walkway between the Campus Center and Central King Building. An 18-year-old relic that first graced the eyes and ears of students back in 2004, it was donated by Harry Gail and Dorothy Clarke. Gail graduated from NJIT in 1944 with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. Nowadays, the clock tower is heard throughout the day as the students relish the day’s choice of song selection. One student recalled hearing “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. Another one recalled a tune from “Star Wars” and even a piece by Mozart.  

Facilities oversees maintenance of the clock tower. Songs are played at the top and bottom of the hour, while the bell chimes on the quarter hour. The sometimes recognizable and mystifying songs are programmed and loaded into a controller called the Schulmerich Carillons “Digital Auto-Bell Instrument with DSP.” This instrument contains songs that are preprogrammed into the system. Unfortunately, due to the age of the controller and its electronics, new songs cannot be added to the already diverse song library. Some students love hearing the tunes ring out as they sit in class, while others may find it distracting. Nevertheless, it adds a nice touch to campus life. 

The actual history of the tower may not be as well-known as the many conspiracies and superstitions that surround it. These narratives have made their way to most, if not all, NJIT students. Most superstitions have to do with the select number of students who choose to play with destiny and walk under the infamous tower. Those who do so are said to be graduating a semester late or worse, a year late. Another superstition that has made its way throughout campus is that whoever chooses to walk under the tower will fail their classes and tank their GPA. Whatever your beliefs, the clock tower and its iconic story is one that will live on for many years to come. 

About The Author

Samira Santana

Santana (Biomedical Engineering '23) is part of the Vector writing team. "I enjoy cooking, watching sports, and reading. The Vector gives me an opportunity not only to express myself, but to also share what’s happening in the world and be able to connect with my community."

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