Southern Utah University has been in existence since 1897, and there are countless traditions that have emerged over those many years. They give the school color, character and sense of camaraderie amongst students, but perhaps SUU’s most celebrated tradition is also its youngest—the Carter Carillon Tradition.
Taking place each year during Freshmen Orientation, incoming students venture from the Centrum Arena to upper campus where they’re greeted with a sea of red and raucous cheering from SUU faculty, staff, alumni and students flanking the walkways all the way up to the Carter Carillon bell tower. The new students then walk beneath the tower, heading east signifying the beginning of their journey at SUU, and are asked not to walk beneath it till their graduation day.
For the remainder of their education, students make a detour around the Carillon and the ground underneath is reserved for only those who hold an SUU diploma — the truest of T-Birds.
SUU Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Keri Mecham said of the Carter Carillon Tradition, “When students arrive on campus their first year, they don’t know very many people and may feel a little lost, but when they walk beneath the bell tower being cheered on by their peers they learn that they all these people want them there.”
Mecham first started this memorable tradition in 2009 and stated she wanted to give SUU students a unique tradition they couldn’t find anywhere else in the state. She said, “Unique traditions, such as this one, bind students together and solidify that they are connected to something bigger.
Her statements are mirrored by junior Caleb White, finance major and SUU Student Association vice president of clubs and student leadership, who took part in the Carter Carillon Tradition in the fall of 2010.
He said of his experience, “When I came to SUU I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to continue school here, but after walking beneath the bell tower and having all these people give me high-fives and pat me on the back, I just felt like I belonged, that I was wanted. No other university made me feel that way.”
All faculty, staff, alumni and students are encouraged to officially welcome the more than 1,400 incoming students to campus and are encouraged to take part in this celebrated tradition by flanking the walkways between Old Main and the Braithwaite Center on Friday, August 23 at 11 a.m., dressed in your SUU regalia, to cheer on the newest T-Birds.