Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Bell Tower holds history and tradition

According to campus lore, if a couple kisses under the Augustana Bell Tower, they will be together forever.
Whether or not the legend is true may always remain a campus mystery; however, a kiss under the bell tower did lead to a successful marriage for 2008 graduates Chantal (Milem) Irish and John Irish.
Chantal and John began dating in January of 2005, during their first year at Augustana. As is the tradition with many Greek organizations, Chantal was to attend a Bell Tower Kiss (BTK) while pledging Chi Omega Gamma (COG), but could not attend pledging on the night of her BTK.
“I missed the bell tower kiss night for pledging, so we did our own before the end of of our freshman year,” Chantal said.
The couple continued on through their college career, getting engaged in January of 2007, during their junior year.
John and Chantal were married on Saturday, May 31, 2008 in Ascension Chapel (on campus), after graduating from Augie the Sunday before.
“Augie was so important to our relationship. It was the reason we met, it was our whole relationship up to that point. Getting married at Augie only made sense,” Chantal said. “I actually put a hold on our wedding date before John even proposed because I would have been devastated if we didn’t get married there. John still thinks I am crazy for doing that. He had no idea at the time, but I just knew we would be together.”
Two days after the ceremony, the couple moved to Chicago, where John went on to attend medical school. They are currently living in Columbia, MO while John completes his residency in Radiology. Chantal is a stay-at-home mother.
The Irish’s have one sixteen-month-old son, John David, and are expecting a baby girl in July.
The couple has been married for almost eight years. They are not sure whether or not the Augustana Bell Tower played a part in their relationship’s success; however, their story is still one which Augie students can admire.
“I don’t think I believe in the lore, but I do believe it is a privilege to kiss under that bell tower which has been a part of so many successful relationships. It is like a promise to each other that you are going to try to be together forever,” Chantal said. “On our wedding day, we chose to see each other before the ceremony. We purposefully took pictures under the bell tower just hours before we were married. I mean, you don’t kiss under it after you are married, right?!”
Legend or no legend, the bell tower remains an important and prominent landmark on Augie’s campus.
According to Augustana’s historical records, “The bell tower was built between November 1935 and January 1936 for a total cost of $200.”
In regards to the design of the tower, the record stated, “The design was meant to reflect the designs of Swedish bell towers as an homage to Augustana’s Swedish roots.”
Standing at the foot of Zion Hill, the Augustana Bell Tower is a special part of campus history and is a landmark which defines Augie’s identity.

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Augustana Bell Tower holds history and tradition