Denny Chimes plays new song honoring national recognized scholars

The University of Alabama already honors nationally recognized students with scholarships and grants, but it is adding a new accolade to the list: a song played from Denny Chimes.

Twice a day for the past two weeks, the Chimes jingled UA’s brand new tune, “Celebrating Achievement,” to honor Rhodes scholars, Truman scholars, National Merit winners and any other recipients of awards at the national level.

Now the Chimes will play the song every time a student or faculty member receives a national award, along with an email from Student Affairs identifying the honoree.

“It’s using one tradition to honor another,” said Debbie Lane, University spokeswoman who helped with the project.

Lane said the idea came from Provost Judy Bonner, who thought it was time to add academic achievement to the list of occasions for the University to fire up the 83-year-old, 25-bell campanile.

“We feel like it will be played a lot,” Lane said.

The University already boasts 15 Rhodes Scholars, 37 Goldwater Scholars and eight Truman Scholars, and that’s not including faculty and staff, who are also eligible for a musical shout-out for national recognition.

The song was composed this summer by UA School of Music graduate student Amir Zaheri and was played multiple times over the past two weeks to make it as recognizable as anything else on the Chimes playlist, Lane said.

National Merit Scholarship winner Katie Bauer said she appreciates the honor but hadn’t noticed the song at all during the last two weeks.

“I feel like even if I had heard it, I wouldn’t have known what it was about,” she said. “But I really think it’s a cool idea, especially if they advertise it more.”

But Bauer says the University always celebrated achievement in an even deeper way. The National Merit Corporation gave her a textbook grant, but the University topped it with full tuition and housing, a study abroad grant and a laptop computer. Without the aid, she wouldn’t have been able to pay for college.

“I’m proud of the students, but I’m really just proud of the University for being good. I’ve had great classes, great professors and great opportunities,” Bauer said.

Now she has a place in the Chimes.

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