Why the Clock Has IIII and Not IV

Today@Sam tries to clear up why the clock on the new bell tower has a Roman inscription IIII - instead of IV. According to the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer of the SHSU clock, the use of IIII was universally accepted when Roman numerals were used on dials. Furthermore, a study of Roman inscriptions surviving from the days when Rome controlled the British Isles shows that the Romans themselves preferred IIII to IV. IIII appears 87 percent of the time.

Also, SHSU has enjoyed the sound of tolling bells for a quarter century. In 1980 Robert Wright, a West Columbia High School and later University of Texas graduate who attended Army Specialized Training at Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1942, provided a donation to establish the Farrell-Wright Carillon, in honor of his parents. It was dedicated on April 13, 1980. The electronic bell system included eight speakers installed atop the Marks Administration Building and a keyboard console that could be played manually. It served the campus for almost 25 years and was moved to a nearby building when the Administration Building was renovated. In recent years it began having mechanical problems that became unrepairable.

Ruth and Ron Blatchley of College Station donated a clock with chimes that was installed in the Alumni Garden just west of the Lowman Student Center in 2003. They later provided a sizeable donation for construction of the Ruth and Ron Blatchley Bell Tower, that was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2005. The Blatchleys were students at Sam Houston State in the late 1960s.


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