A bell rung crisp and loud through the campus of Central Christian College Saturday to commemorate the dedication of the M.B. Miller Heritage Plaza.

A bell rung crisp and loud through the campus of Central Christian College Saturday to commemorate the dedication of the M.B. Miller Heritage Plaza.

The newly completed area is centrally located between the school’s cafeteria, student center, library, classrooms and the main administration building. It includes a canopied stage and a clock tower, surrounded by a circle of brick and concrete.

The $659,000 project replaces a thread of Maple Street that ran through the campus and was built to provide a location for students to gather, as well as improve safety.

Alumni, past presidents and other honored guests gathered Saturday to dedicate the plaza, which was named after the college's fourth president, Dr. Mendal B. Miller, who died in 1994.

Central President Hal Hoxie said he was discussing the plaza with alumni who had been students during Miller’s tenure, and they suggested the idea. Over time, the name continued to emerge as one of great influence among students.

“I just kept hearing those stories, and it dawned on me,” Hoxie recalled. “This person who impacted so many lives should be represented again here at Central Christian.”

Miller served 10 years at Central, including two as the dean of men and instructor of business, and eight as the president.

Miller’s grandson, Kent McDonald, was the featured speaker Saturday, and stressed the many ways in which Miller stood out in his time. McDonald described him as being revolutionary, an economist, a devoted follower of Christ, a good thinker and speaker, and a thelate larger truths to the average person.

An example of his forward thinking was a speech Miller gave in 1964, calling for equal treatment of women and African Americans, and begging a consumerist society to use their wealth for Godly purposes.

“It is deserving today that the unveiling of this new Heritage Plaza be named after one of the greats, Dr. M. B. Miller,” McDonald said. “We are honored as family and friends to be here today for this historic and reverent moment.”

Following McDonald's speech, a sign naming the plaza was unveiled. Miller's family — including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild — cut the ribbon for the plaza.

Donald Cooney, 2012-2013 student body president, said the plaza, including the clock tower, will make the campus feel complete and the plaza will foster a spirit of pride in the college. He stressed that the area will be a part of an institution that will continue to have an impact on students.

“Each one of us is making a difference in the circle of influence God has given us, and it’s evident from the comments made by Mr. McDonald that M.B. Miller was indeed a man who made a positive impact on the lives around him,” he said. “I know Central will continue to grow and continue to touch lives long after all of us are gone.”

After the singing of the school’s song, the clock tower’s bell was rung amid a chorus of applause. The bell came from Orleans Seminary — the forerunner of Central — and has been located elsewhere on campus for the past 50 years.

Provost Lenny Favara said starting this year, the tower will be part of graduation ceremonies, where students will touch it as they walk past as a symbol of trust in God as their strong tower.

The bell, he added, was a sign of victory. In the past, it has been a sound following a court victory, a prayer answered, campaign success or a decision of one to walk in the light of Jesus.

Saturday, it rung for the tower and all it stood for.

Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel