Good morning. It is a pleasure to welcome you to our dedication of the carillon and clock tower that Dee and Gail Clarke have presented to NJIT. Please join me in a special welcome for Dee and Gail, who are with us today.
The Clarkes have long been generous supporters of NJIT, both financially and in the time they devote to activities such as the Leadership Circle Council of the university’s Annual Fund. Gail, a member of the Class of 1944, has also been energetically involved with NJIT’s Alumni Association over the years, and with his fraternity, Sigma Pi.
Dee and Gail have an extensive collection of mechanical musical instruments at their home that reflects their deep love of music. Their collection ranges from small music boxes to large calliopes and fairground organs. They even share their living room with an antique wooden carousel horse. Their ceilings were not tall enough for the carillon, and zoning ordinances in their neighborhood did not allow for it, and so it has become a wonderful addition to our campus.
With the carillon, the Clarkes have given the NJIT community two significant gifts. One is indeed the gift of music, a very appropriate complement for our ongoing efforts to create a more welcoming, pleasant, and park-like campus. I know that everyone will enjoy just pausing for a moment or two in the course of the day and listening to the music.
But the carillon is also a gift that inspires reflection on how science and technology are integral to virtually every human endeavor, including music. Science is basic to crafting any musical instrument, and a wide range of technological breakthroughs have enabled millions of people around the world to enjoy music through recordings and broadcasting.
As a technological university, our goal is to spark the imaginative and creative application of scientific knowledge that is at the heart of such advances, to improve the quality of life. This has been the tradition of NJIT for many decades, and it is a tradition that has been fostered by the presidents who have guided the university through the years. It is the wish of the Clarkes that our carillon be dedicated to all the presidents of NJIT — past, present and future.
I wholeheartedly concur with honoring those who have preceded me in this office. They set the stage on which we play now, allowing us to orchestrate the developments you see around you, including inspiring Gail, along with Dee, to honor his alma mater with a gift that epitomizes the character of NJIT and its vision for the future. I am proud to be associated with NJIT, and hope that my contributions, in some small way, will be looked upon in a positive light and that those who follow will continue to enhance the stature of this great university.
“Although it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” and I’ll let you conclude who might of said that, it is not difficult to predict that NJIT will continue to inspire students like Gail Clarke to succeed in education and life, and to engender the same bond with their alma mater that Gail has shared with Dee. Shortly, at today’s Freshman Convocation, we will welcome the women and men of another entering class. Their work in the classroom and laboratory will carry the scientific, economic and social progress achieved by so many NJIT graduates still further. Hearing the carillon will help to remind our new students, as well as all of us, that science and technology can make life better in many ways — including filling the world with music.
Robert A. Altenkirch, President