Freed-Hardeman University marked the beginning of the 153rd school year with its annual Tolling of the Bell Aug. 17, 2022. Brig. Gen. Billy B. Morgan, USAF (Ret.) of Benton, Kentucky, served as Master of the Bell and rang the bell 15 times, once for each decade of the school’s existence.
As bell master, Morgan issued a challenge to this year’s student body that was simple and to the point.
“Accept responsibility and be prepared. Proper preparation will ensure proper takeoff and landing,” Morgan said. “Your teachers are willing to help you in that process. May God bless you as we embark on a new year.”
Kayley Wadlington, president of Student Government Association, rang the bell to accept the challenge.
“Some of us may be unsure as we’re in a new place we’ve never been, or we may be entering our final year here before we embark on our lives in the real world,” Wadlington said. “We accept the challenges here today. We commit to do hard things and strive for the things we need to do to excel in our studies and to be responsible and be prepared as we pursue our dreams.”
Bill Morgan himself was a student at Freed-Hardeman in 1947 and 1948. He then transferred to Murray State University to complete his bachelor’s degree. Morgan estimates that more than 50 of his relatives and their extended families have attended FHC/FHU and become gospel preachers. FHU awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2008.
He has logged 52 years of service to the university, having become a member of the President’s Advisory Board in 1970 and the Board of Trustees in 1993. His relationship with the university began long before that, however.
His grandfather, W.E. Morgan, taught alongside N.B. Hardeman and A.G. Freed. His grandmother was the first dorm mom in Oakland Hall, now known as Hall-Roland Hall. The couple and their six children all lived in the dorm. Hatler Morgan, Bill Morgan’s father, also attended Freed-Hardeman, as did his five siblings. Hatler Morgan also served as a Freed-Hardeman trustee.
“Our family history is intertwined with the history of Old Main,” he said at a board meeting in the iconic building. “Old Main experiences opened the eyes of my kin, as well as mine, to the heavens and to God’s eternity therein.”