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New Sounds For Old Main’s Chimes

Any current or former student is familiar with Old Main’s chimes. Their ringing is nostalgic and drives passion and hope about the future into those who hear it ring.

Sure, sometimes you’ll hear Old Main ring a minute or two before it’s supposed to. But it still puts a smile on any Penn Stater’s face, and campus wouldn’t be the same without it.

On the weekends, you’ll hear Old Main ring a few notes from “Hail To The Lion.” That got us wondering…What if Old Main’s chimes rang a different sound? Here are a few options we think could work pretty well.

The Beaver Stadium Lion Roar

If you have been to a game at Beaver Stadium, we’d venture to guess you know the Nittany Lion roar that gets played over the speakers when literally anything happens. You know, the one that kinda sounds like a toilet flushing.

Now, imagine that same soul-piercing, gut-wrenching, intensely powerful roar played every quarter-hour on a Tuesday afternoon. Imagine, if you will: It is 7:50 a.m. on a Wednesday in late October. The temperature is around 45 degrees. You are walking from the library toward Hammond for a midterm that you have been up all night studying for. You pass by Willard, flashcards in hand, drifting in and out of consciousness due to lack of sleep. Then, a loud, screeching roar penetrates your earlobes like a semi-truck smashing through a brick wall! You’re now awake, alert, and ready to crush that exam.

We’re not saying a lion roar bell chime would improve academics entirely, but it’s probably worth a shot.

CATA Bus Announcement Lady

Do you know the voice of the lady who announces bus stop locations and other information when aboard any CATA bus? Let me jog your memory: “Green Link, serving campus and commuter parking via Curtain Road.”

She is a monotone voice that is both robotic yet comforting. What if Penn State hired that same lady to voice times for the bell tower?

Every 15 minutes, that same soothing voice that alerts you when a stop is requested announces the current time for everybody in the vicinity of Old Main to hear. We wouldn’t need to check our phones ever again. Changing the bell tower tone to that of the CATA bus voice lady is both functional and just overall classy.

Cow Moo

I really hope this isn’t just me here, or else this whole idea is going to look incredibly dumb. Anyways, has anyone else noticed the pungent smell of cow manure on campus from the hours of around 5 to 10 a.m.? I know that I have. At least three times a week, when I am on my way to my morning class, that glorious smell of cow dung seeps through my nostrils. Honestly, though, it doesn’t really upset me, and I’ve learned to embrace it. Without cow droppings, there are no cows, and without cows, there is no Berkey Creamery.

Every great thing has its fallbacks. Maybe just during the morning hours, we could change the chime of the Old Main bell tower to the deep bellowing moo of a 1,500-pound Holstein cow awaking from a deep slumber. Every. Fifteen. Minutes. MOO!

This way, while students and faculty are getting their days started, they can both smell and hear cows. It’s a true affair for both senses.

Various ‘We Are’ Chants

“We Are” is pure Penn State. It encapsulates the university, past, present, and future, into two simple words. Wherever you go in the world, you can be sure that there is someone nearby ready to respond with a “Penn State” to your “We Are.”

I think you see where this is going. Let’s change the grandma’s church bells chime of Old Main to the two words that power the university, even more than the solar farm in Franklin County. Who is going to be the voice behind the “We Are” that echoes across campus every fifteen minutes? Would it be Saquon Barkley, James Franklin, or Sue Paterno? Or maybe it could be the voice of President Barron? I think a more harmonic version of it could be sung by the Jonas Brothers. We could even have different members of the OPP do it on different days.

The Willard Preacher

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashion scolding from an old white dude in a red hoodie?

I am sure that for some of you, he is the whole reason you came to Penn State. Behind the OPP, the Willard Preacher is up there as one of my favorite things about Penn State. The alumni network and White Out games pale in comparison to the joy of watching the Preacher rip apart some courageous freshman on a cool fall afternoon. Also, let’s be honest, he’s kind of got a point.

Anyway, 20-second sermons from the Willard Preacher every 15 minutes could help spread his message and boost his audience engagement. Sure, it’d probably be pretty annoying, but those one-liners are sometimes entertaining enough to let it slide.


What sounds would you want to hear ring from Old Main someday? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author

Rico Gore

Rico is a senior advertising major from Pittsburgh who has been with Onward State since just a couple weeks into his freshman year. He loves to drink Diet Coke and eat Mexican food. You can follow Rico on Instagram @RealBigRico and TikTok @RealBigRico.

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