Southeastern Community College celebrated its 60th anniversary with a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 6 for the construction of a gazebo-like structure that will replace the current site of the Chadbourn Bell. Through the Raise the Bell campaign, organized by the SCC Foundation, the Chadbourn Bell will be placed at the top of the new structure surrounded by engraved brick walkways.
SCC Board of Trustees member Henry Edmund recalled his experience with the Chadbourn Bell to a large audience assembled at the groundbreaking ceremony. He said he used to ring the Chadbourn Bell at Chadbourn High School in the 1960s before it was moved to SCC’s campus in 1980.
“This bell signifies the unity of our community,” Edmund said. “It’s a symbol of SCC’s past, present and future.”
Edmund honored Arthur Williamson for his generosity in donating all the land that SCC occupies, and he recognized Williamson’s descendants present at the ceremony. The Chadbourn Bell is dedicated in honor of Williamson with a plaque mounted below it, and SCC’s library is named in his honor. Williamson’s family members at the ceremony were his daughters Jean Arthur Hammond and Margaret Peal Godwin, granddaughter Sheri Noble, grandson Benjie Godwin and his wife, Jean Godwin.
Noble said the bell’s dedication to her “pa pa” makes her “so proud.” She described the Raise the Bell campaign as “really awesome and a great asset to the college” in efforts to raise money for the SCC Foundation. She is looking forward to the final product in August and returning for its ribbon cutting ceremony.
“We’re looking forward to great things in the future just as we’ve had great things in the past,” said Joe Hooks, SCC Board of Trustees chairman. “The future is what we’re about, and the past is what we’re celebrating.”
SCC Foundation Executive Director Terrie Priest said the Raise the Bell campaign is a fundraiser to help cover construction costs of the new structure. The fundraiser consists of two brick sizes, an 8×8 inch and 8×4 inch. The larger brick has space for four lines of text, and the smaller brick has space for three lines of text.
“The biggest part of this campaign is allowing people to leave their mark on the college’s history with an engraved brick,” Priest said. “That will be there forever, and it would be so cool to come back 20 or 30 years later and see your name on a brick at the Chadbourn Bell.”
Priest said she was “very pleased” with the turnout at the groundbreaking ceremony, and she appreciates all the support so far with the fundraiser. Those interested in purchasing a brick can easily do so online at or by contacting Priest by phone at 910-788-6320 or email at email@example.com.
“Celebrating our 60th anniversary should be wrapped around that bell because it is significant to this college,” English said. “It’s who we are and how we identify with that bell.”
English explained that with the Chadbourn Bell’s current brick structure, constructed in 1980, needed repairs. He said that raising the bell higher with a new structure would deliver the respect and authority it deserved. A rope will be attached for easy access to ringing the bell for special occasions on campus.
“The number of people at the event signifies the impact this college has had on this community. It’s overwhelming,” English said. “With the number of the phone calls we’ve had about buying a brick and the people attending the ceremony, I’m looking forward to seeing the support we’ll have in August when, hopefully, the bell structure is complete.”
See more photos from the ceremony