Symphonic Carillon Project


Carillon Expansion Fund Reaches Goal!

Many, many thanks to each of you who contributed to our $25,000 goal.

Our 2004-2006 president, Kathie Ross, announced the exciting news at the 2005 Holiday dinner sponsored by the SDSU Retirement Association and the SDSU Women's Association.

Special thanks the Dr. Terry O'Donnell for his guidance and support.

The SDSU Retirement Association Board of Directors endorsed funding the final stage of the campus chimes enhancement--known officially as the Fletcher Carillon Expansion--as a means to support the only campus entity that is not unit, department, or division specific. The carillon installation, and general ambiance it creates, represents an important 60 year campus tradition for all members of the campus, our alumni and our visitors. We want a place on campus where our name could be on a plaque that would honor our efforts to complete this important landmark installation. Members had the opportunity to give a one-time gift or a monthly amount. Our goal was to raise the money by December, 2005.

Dedication Pictures April 14, 2008

Association members at cermony

Members snacking at reception

Dedication music photo

image of old spiral staircase

image of two men looking at project

image of four men looking at project

image of carillon bells

image of carillon keyboard

image of carillon keyboard with music sheet

image of three members discussing carillon project



Pre-project pictures

Doctor Terry O'Donnel showing the bells

Dr. Terry O'Donnell showing the SDSU Fletcher 135 bell symphonic carillon. The minor bells are on the top and the major bells are on the bottom. The "bells" are steel rods.

image of the minor bells of the carrilon

The minor bells

image of four octave double keyboard console unit

Four octave double keyboard console unit

image of the staircase to the carrilon

Staircase to the carillon


About the SDSU Fletcher Symphonic Carillon Installation

The Hardy Memorial Tower which houses the Fletcher Symphonic Carillon is recognized as San Diego State University's most significant historic physical landmark and is also an important University symbol to the greater San Diego community. Since the 1940’s, the Fletcher family and many SDSU affiliated organizations have valued and supported this installation. The daily ringing of the carillon has become one of SDSU’s oldest traditions.

The Fletcher Chimes were a gift to SDSU (known at that time as San Diego State College) by Senator and Mrs. Ed Fletcher on Christmas Day 1946, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the University. The chimes also serve as a memorial to all SDSU students lost in War. In 1968, the Ed and Mary Fletcher Foundation, through the efforts of AS Vice-President, Ron Ramos, funded a renovation, and the installation was upgraded to a carillon.

In 1985, the Fletcher Foundation and SDSU Associated Students upgraded the system to a Digital Chronobell—50 Bell Symphonic Carillon. This improvement included 25 Major English bells, 25 Minor English bells, 30 separately tuned bells for the hour-strike, various swinging bells, peals, tolling bells, and a unique computer memory system to capture, preserve, and program over 400 songs and performance events. In 1992, another expansion funded by Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Lipinsky allowed the Fletcher Carillon to be heard at the eastern and southern edges of the campus—from the Lipinsky Clock Tower. In 2001, the system was expanded from fifty to 135 Symphonic Carillon Bells. The upgrade included a four-octave double keyboard console unit, and new bell housing/display cabinets.

Since 1962—excepting a short period in the late-1960’s—SDSU School of Music faculty member Dr. Terry O’Donnell has served as carillonneur for the Fletcher Carillon installation. Traditionally, the carillon is an important musical addition to major campus activities including—Commencement, Homecoming, Founder’s Day, Convocations, campus memorials, holiday events, and a variety of special-event programs. The musical repertoire for the carillon includes a variety of classical, popular, folk, patriotic, and original music composed, transcribed, or arranged for the instrument.

The fund-raising campaign goal was to raise $25,000 for the final renovation and upgrade of the carillon. Thus with the addition of 49 Flemish bells, 26 Bourdon bells, and 12 Upper-minor bells the complete SDSU carillon installation will include over 235 bells. They have now been ordered with installation expected this summer.