Clock installed on 100-year-old Bishop Tucker Building

By Ivan Tsebeni
Every 30 minutes, a clock on an iconic building at Uganda Christian University (UCU) is supposed to go “ding dong.” The sound of the bell on the clock on the Bishop Tucker Building is a reminder to the institution’s community that “time is moving.”

However, for nine years, no one at UCU heard the sound. The electronic clock, installed in 2007 to mark 10 years of UCU, malfunctioned five years later. 

As part of the 10th anniversary, the institution refurbished the Bishop Tucker Building on which there is a cupola that houses the clock. When the clock was installed, the wood housing of the cupola expanded and warped the clock’s face, so it stopped working.

Upon learning that the clock was no longer working, Prof. Stephen Noll, the first Vice-Chancellor of UCU, offered to buy a new one for the building. That offer was fulfilled over the summer of 2021 when Noll sent the clock through UCU Partners, a US-based charity that mobilizes financial support for the university. The organization supports UCU in providing scholarships to needy learners and supporting capital projects, including the UCU School of Medicine. 

“I understand that this time, the installation has avoided that flaw,” Noll said of what made the cock malfunction in 2012. It is the third time that the cupola receives a new clock.

The Bishop Tucker Building, which will be marking its centenary of existence next year, has a four-sided clock and bell tower, operated by a gigantic set of ropes and pulleys.

However, Noll says by the time he joined the university in 2000 as its first Vice Chancellor, the initial clock had not worked for decades. 

According to Noll, the Bishop Tucker Building is part of the heritage of the Anglican Church of Uganda and of Bishop Tucker Theological College, which was founded in 1913. 

“The building is one of the finest pieces of architecture in the country,” he noted. 

Noll said the sound from the new clock should always remind the UCU community about the importance of keeping time.  

“The clock reminds us that ‘my times are in your hands’ (Psalm 31:15),” Noll said. 

Welcoming the gift, UCU’s current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, said: “We have received a special gift from our first Vice Chancellor. It will be reminding us of (the importance of keeping) time and playing the sweet melodies as we celebrate our achievements. We are honored to have such a gift, thanks to Prof. Noll and the entire community of Uganda Partners.”

Mushengyezi said “the massive sound bell inside the clock tower, looks spectacular at night when the clock face is illuminated.”

The new clock has been welcomed by members of the university community. 

Cyrus Ayesiga, a student of Bachelors of Procurement and Management, said the clock will help them keep time while performing tasks at the university.