Carillon will play again at SBU

Kate Stamper Wilhite TowerBOLIVAR, Mo. — Spurgeon Carillon will play once again on Southwest Baptist University’s Bolivar campus beginning this summer.

Graduating senior Chance Bedell led an effort this school year to raise money for renovations to the Kate Stamper Wilhite Tower, primarily making the carillon play once again. His dream was to have the carillon play at the end of each commencement ceremony on May 14-15. After presenting the idea to SBU’s administration, the project grew to include additional components: 

  • A new digital, Wi-Fi-enabled carillon;
  • Color-changing LED lighting;
  • Frosted glass panels to magnify the cross; and
  • A deep cleaning of the exterior.

“The bell tower is an iconic structure on our Bolivar campus that serves as a reminder of our Christ-centered mission,” said Interim President Dr. Brad Johnson. “Between Chance’s vision to upgrade the carillon and other ideas included in our Campus Master Plan for enhancing the bell tower, the structure will continue to be treasured by Bearcats for generations to come. I am thankful for Chance’s leadership in this campus improvement project.”

Initial fundraising efforts provided enough money to purchase the carillon. The equipment continues to be in production and will not arrive on campus until after graduation but should be in place by the time students return to campus in August.

“While I am a little disappointed the carillon will not play for my undergraduate commencement, I will get to hear it play when I graduate with my Master of Business Administration degree next May,” Bedell said. “I am so thankful for the donors who are making our dream a reality and I am also excited to see the bell tower after all the renovations are completed.”

Fundraising continues for the remainder of the project. For more information about donating to the project, contact Savannah Palmer, assistant director of philanthropic support, at (417) 328-1804 or

*Published: 5-12-2021