The St. Mary’s University community gathered Friday to formally dedicate and celebrate the Barrett Memorial Bell Tower.

The100-foot tower was based on the vision of Charles T. Barrett Jr., a St. Mary’s alumnus and president and CEO of Barrett Holdings Inc. He and his wife, Melissa, made the lead gift in memory of his mother, the late Susana Barrett, and envisioned a structure that would memorialize and bring together the campus community.

“Approaching the campus from any direction, the Barrett Memorial Bell Tower soars above the skyline, symbolizing the strength, heritage and tradition of excellence at St. Mary’s,” said President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D. “Thanks to the shared vision and leadership of Charles Barrett, this tower has become a centerpiece of the campus landscape, transforming this space into both the geographical and spiritual center of the St. Mary’s campus.”

The tower, which includes a large landscaped plaza, complements the recently renovated Gateway entrance and connects the historic front of the campus with the interior sections, including the University Center and the library. The tower’s chimes play music daily and the school song “Bells of St. Mary’s” will play on special occasions such as commencement.

At the groundbreaking ceremony in 2006, Barrett told a story of watching the movie “The Bells of St. Mary’s” with his mother before her death, and how much the movie meant to her. That was the inspiration, he said, for a structure that would both memorialize loved ones and symbolize the excellence of St Mary’s.

“My wife Melissa and I and the entire Barrett family thank the many donors who joined together to make the tower possible. It is because of their generosity that the Barrett Memorial Bell Tower today stands as a memorial for loved ones and a symbol of the excellence of St. Mary’s University,” Barrett said.

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