News + Events

FHU Announces Plans for Annual Tolling of the Bell Ceremony

Henderson, Tenn. - Aug 09, 2016

A student new to the Freed-Hardeman campus will join two of the most familiar faces in FHU history, Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Loyd Auditorium for the annual Tolling of the Bell. The ceremony signals the start of each academic year, reuniting students, faculty and the Freed-Hardeman family with those new to the school and those who shaped the private Christian university’s storied past.

President of Freed-Hardeman for almost two decades, Dr. Milton Sewell will be joined on stage by his wife of more than 50 years, Laurel, as this year’s “Masters of the Bell.”

Also participating in this year’s ceremony, Germantown High School graduate and incoming sophomore Keith Mattix II will represent the student body. The youngest presenter in the history of TechCamp Memphis at age 14, Mattix is expected to pursue a degree in computer technology. He completed his freshman year at Southwest Tennessee Community College and has been a developer intern at Clear Function.

This ceremony also marks the first time incoming students will join the returning student body for chapel services. Starting at 10:30am, new students will take part in a devotional, singing and the annual tolling ceremony. The bell will ring once for every decade of Freed-Hardeman University’s history.

Serving as chancellor since 2008, Milton Sewell has been a part of the Henderson campus since 1962, when he graduated from what was then known as Freed Hardeman College. He also holds degrees from the University of Alabama, Florence State College and Harding College.

During his tenure as president, nine buildings were added to the Freed-Hardeman campus, including Brewer Sports Center, Brown-Kopel Business Center and three new residence halls. Honored for his service to Freed-Hardeman and West Tennessee, Dr. Sewell was named the Henderson-Chester County Citizen of the Year in 2008.

Laurel Sewell was made an honorary alumna in 2001. She has served the FHU family as national president and vice president of the Freed-Hardeman Associates, and has served on the Advisory Council of “Keep Tennessee Beautiful.” After serving almost two decades as First Lady of Freed-Hardeman, Laurel Sewell is a frequent guest speaker at ladies’ days, retreats and lectureships. She is also the author of “The Six Gifts of Hospitality,” a study book, and has written articles for the Gospel Advocate and Christian Woman Magazine.