Victory Bell will ring again in 2006

By Collin Leicht

During the 2004 renovations on the DuSable Hall turnaround, service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega became alarmed that NIU seemed to be paving a driveway right over tradition.

Since 1960, a wooden red and black structure stood on the patch of land outside DuSable which housed the APO Victory Bell. According to NIU’s history archives, the bell was donated by APO to provide “a tradition rich in purpose.” It was a symbol of victory, and its tone echoed on campus to mark victories and celebrations for both the university and the nation.

Today, about every 15 minutes, a Huskie Bus rolls over the spot where the victory bell once stood.

APO adviser Stacey Kuster followed with her own research, backed by other advisers and alumni in the same quest to discover the fate of the bell.

What Kuster discovered was great news for APO and the alumni; the bell had not been forgotten at all. Rather, it was delegated to the attention of Patricia Perkins, assistant to the executive vice president of Finance and Facilities. This office also directed the 2004 Altgeld Hall renovations.

Perkins said NIU will relocate the bell outside the Convocation Center’s south entrance, and the building of the monument will begin in spring 2006.

Perkins said the main reason for the delay in the bell’s return to public view has been due to the search for an appropriate design.

“We are doing everything we can to have an appropriate location for the bell,” Perkins said. She said the preliminary DuSable turnaround plans not only involved consideration for the bell, but also allocated funding toward an eventual relocation.

The bell will be the focus of a structure that will serve multiple functions. Although primarily serving as a historical monument, the new showpiece of the Convo also will be illuminated at night and will serve as a backdrop for team photographs, with “Northern Illinois University” spelled clearly across the top.

Location also was an issue of debate. Perkins said many different opinions were part of the discussion, but the proximity to NIU sporting events made the Convo the ideal choice. She said the bell will serve its original purpose much more frequently, as the Convo houses a variety of athletic functions and stands nearer to Huskie Stadium.

Additionally, the bell will once again ring for another important ceremony which is more academic in nature.

“Graduation is a victory, too,” Perkins said.