Class of 1957 returns, dedicates columbarium
The Class of 1957 - 135 members strong - returned to The Citadel on Thursday for their 50th reunion and to lead a special dedication ceremony of the college’s new columbarium.
Harry Van Bergen, who first came to The Citadel with his father to install the bells (or the carillon), spearheaded the effort build the columbarium, which is housed in the first floor of the Thomas Dry Howie Memorial Carillon and Tower.
"Citadel alumni are the foundation from which the college builds new leaders. The columbarium represents the loyal ties our alumni have for their alma mater, and more specifically, the vision, dedication, and hard work of Harry Van Bergen and the class of ’57," said Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, president of The Citadel. "It is a fitting continuum that by giving back to the college, they are giving themselves a place to rest and breathing new life into the college at the same time."
Following the dedication ceremony, members of The Citadel family and the Class of 1957 visited the bell tower for a look at the marble and mahogany columbarium as Richard Scott, a Summerville teacher, played a concert on the carillon.
Columbarium Quick Facts:
• Number of niches: 403
• Each niche holds 2 urns (for an alum and spouse or family member)
• Cost to alumni: $8,000 (class of ’57 alumni rate: $5,000)
• Number of niches sold: 14 (including one to the wife of a 1967 graduate who will have her husband’s ashes transferred from Florida)
• Proceeds will be used to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the bell tower and the chapel as well as to support scholarships for cadets who play the carillon.
• The Thomas Dry Howie Memorial Carillon and Tower were donated to The Citadel by two alumni, Charles E. Daniel, class of 1918, and R. Hugh Daniel, class of 1929, in tribute to their friend, Maj. Thomas Dry Howie, who was killed in action during World II.
• The tower houses one of the largest Dutch bell installations in the Western Hemisphere. The bells were cast at the famous Royal Bergen Bellfoundries in Heiligerlee in the Netherlands.
• In 2004, the bells, which had fallen into disrepair after Hurricane Hugo, were renovated with funds raised by the class of 1957.