Healy Clock Hands Replaced
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 21:05
The clock hands on the front face of Georgetown's famous Healy Tower were replaced by the university Tuesday morning, more than a week after they initially went missing.
The hands, which disappeared early last Monday, were not removed by the university, according to spokesperson Stacy Kerr.
"[The Department of Public Safety] is currently investigating this. Breaking into this area and removing the clock hands involves serious violations and safety concerns," she wrote in an email.
Later that afternoon, the university removed the hands on the clock's back face in order to assess whether the clock had suffered any damage.
These hands, along with a spare pair that the university had been keeping in storage, were reinstalled Tuesday morning after outside experts repaired about $9,000 worth of damage to the clock and surrounding area, according to Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh.
The hands that were originally on the clock's front face have not been recovered.
Stealing the Healy clock hands is a long-standing Georgetown tradition that took root in the 1960s. According to a 2005 article in THE HOYA, students reached the tower by sneaking through a passageway once used to ring the bells manually. The hands were stolen so frequently during the '60s that the university stopped replacing them in between thefts.
Patrick Dinardo (CAS '79) helped remove the clock's minute hand in 1975.
"It was a great challenge, and one that my friends and I remember with a smile. But that was in August of 1975, and it was a time when people smiled more about these sorts of activities by college students," he wrote in an email.
Dinardo and his friends took photographs with the clock hand before placing it before their resident assistant's door to be returned to the university.
"[It was] a tradition that we thought was worth continuing," he wrote.
Healy Hall's security was upped with the addition of alarms in the 1980s, according to "Georgetown University," a visual history of the school compiled in 2003 by Paul O'Neill and Paul Williams.
The clock hands were most recently stolen in 2005 by Andrew Hamblen (SFS '07) and Wyatt Gjullin (COL '09). The incident launched a two-week Department of Safety investigation that ended when the two students confessed to climbing up the building's scaffolding and entering through a broken window to take the hands.
According to Pugh, the damage incurred during the 2005 theft totaled $25,000. Hamblen and Gjuillin were placed on academic probation and assigned 75 and 100 community service hours, respectively.
"When I learned of the tradition of stealing the Healy clock hands freshman year and reading various publications about the history associated with the tower, I decided that I eventually wanted to contribute to the survival of the tradition before I graduated," Hamblen told THE HOYA at the time. "I intended no destruction or ill will to the university in taking the hands, simply to contribute to one aspect of what makes this a special place."
Hoya Staff Writer Braden McDonald contributed to this report.