New “B” brightens old tradition

Bill Hardin ’50 constructed and donated the new “B.”

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By Abby Rhodes
October 13, 2011

Bill Hardin ’50 shines his light all over the Peoria area. Look down almost any street in the city to find a business, school or vehicle illuminated by the craftsmanship of his sign company. This Homecoming week, look up for a glowing symbol of Hardin’s Bradley pride and generous spirit – a new Bradley “B,” fabricated and donated to the University by Hardin Signs.

Perched atop Bradley Hall, the red “B,” lined in lights, is a bold announcement that Homecoming festivities are underway on the Hilltop. Hardin joined others in the campus community Wednesday evening for the traditional “B” lighting ceremony, a custom that dates back to 1928.

“As a kid growing up on Cooper Street, just a block from campus, my family watched all the lighting ceremonies from our home,” Hardin said. “It’s been a desire of mine for some time to help keep that tradition going by making the ‘B’ even better.”

The original “B” was eight feet tall and adorned with more than 200 incandescent light bulbs. The modern version is similar in size to its ancestor, but features brighter, LED lights. Made with aluminum tubing, the sturdy new “B” should last for many years to come.

“Just as the first ‘B’ was hoisted onto Bradley Hall to welcome the campus community to the Hilltop, this year we’ll launch not only a new ‘B,’ but new traditions for Homecoming & Parents’ Weekend,” said Lori Fan, executive director of alumni relations. “With more than 70 activities over the five-day period, we’re certain that alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff will enjoy a variety of exciting ways to connect with Bradley.”

This year all eyes on are on the expanding west quad area, where the new Hayden-Clark Alumni Center has risen to greet alumni and visitors in a most spectacular fashion. The just-completed 34,700 square-foot alumni home will be officially dedicated on Saturday.

Follow this link to a full list of Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend 2011 activities.