Bell Tower

Furman Reflective Walk

Bell Tower

Greenville, South Carolina 29617, United States

Created By: The Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection, Furman University


The Florentine styled bell tower was originally built in 1854 on the men’s campus in Downtown Greenville. The tower you see today was built in 1965. The famous icon seen across many marketing materials and photos, serves as a symbol of significance. Throughout its history, it signaled the start of classes, athletic wins, and Confederate victories during the Civil War. It communicated to its community.

When people think of Furman University, they think of the beautiful campus and this symbolic object. For me, I can’t think of the bell tower without thinking of the Furman Lake as well. A beautiful and tranquil ecosystem where I spent time pondering what life was going to look like for me in the future. All I knew is that I too, much like the bell tower, wanted my life to be significant, to have meaning, and a purpose. Instead of having a lake in front of my path, I had a blank canvas to do and create whatever my heart desired.

It was here where I decided to dive into what the Furman Advantage provided its students. I decided to take a leap of faith and study abroad. I craved experiences that were unlike anything I’d ever imagined, and it led me to have the most transformative and significant times of my life. I wanted development, exploration, and leadership. As I took my walks around the lake, I’d think about how the bell tower could withstand anything its surroundings threw at it. Hot summer months, gusty winds, and chilly winters did not seem to faze it. It still stood proud and bold. I learned to channel some of this energy through my leadership style. An ongoing passion of mine for personal development, especially around the topic of leadership, led to my involvement with the Shucker Center for Leadership Development and the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection. There I learned, through those around me, what true leadership looks like. I learned through human connection. Empathy, compassion, resilience, and humility were also shown to me especially in times where I needed it the most. Those experiences paired with the feeling I’d get standing next to an iconic piece of history overlooking the water as if it were a blank canvas, and thinking to myself how a single water droplet could cause a ripple effect on the lake, led me to start living a life of significance and purpose. For my life and work to have meaning, people need to be at the center.


If we stop and take a moment to reflect on the environment around us we can find our “bell tower” moment that sparks inspiration within us. If we look close enough there are indicators to how we can better serve as leaders in our own lives (family, work, community, etc.).

I invite you to think of a pivotal moment where you craved something more out of life.

  • What made it significant?

  • How did that moment empower you to be bold and proud?

  • How did it shape your identity as a person? As a leader?

Historical Reference:

Contributor Statement:

Luz Ruiz, Class of 2020, currently works as an Admissions Counselor. Her hobbies and interests include meditation, reading, motivational podcasts, and exploring the outdoors.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Furman Reflective Walk


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