Tower Guard is a sophomore honor society dedicated to serving students with disabilities at Michigan State University. Members of Tower Guard are chosen from the top academic achievers of the first-year student class, and spend their second (sophomore) year dedicating 120 hours each to the service of students with disabilities. Tower Guard collaborates with the RCPD to help scribe for exams, create accessible textbooks, hold one-on-one tutoring, engage in a variety of RCPD initiatives, and build a more inclusive environment for all Spartans.
History of Tower Guard
Tower Guard was founded in 1934 by May Shaw, the wife of former MSU president Robert Shaw. Originally called the Q Girls, the all-female honor society was designed to be a service-oriented organization which would help to meet the needs of visually impaired students at Michigan State University. In 1934, the group was officially recognized by the University, and became known as Tower Guard. In 1977, membership was opened to include outstanding young men on campus.
Today, Tower Guard members are selected from the top academic achievers of the first-year student class. They must exemplify leadership, scholarship, outstanding character, and commitment to service. Approximately 80 students are chosen from the nearly 1200 that are eligible to apply each year.
Tower Guard is one of the oldest continuously active MSU-based student organizations on campus, and is the only student organization that holds the key to Beaumont Tower. In the early years, when Tower Guard was comprised of only 20-25 members, the meetings were held on the second floor of the Tower. Today’s larger membership allows only the Executive Board officers to continue this tradition. Though Tower Guard has evolved over the years, it continues to serve as a prominent model of leadership, scholarship, service, and character for the MSU community.
Beaumont Tower History
Nestled in the middle of North Campus, Beaumont Tower has served as a Michigan State University landmark since 1928. Surrounded by oaks, maples, and pines, the brick and mortar building symbolizes the University’s triumphs and tribulations. Over the years, the tower has shadowed many historic events, serving as witness to students demonstrating solidarity, politicians pledging promises of peace, and sweethearts seeking sole devotion from one another.
The memorial tower was a gift from John and Alice Beaumont. John Beaumont, an 1882 graduate of Michigan State College, was ranked as one of Detroit’s foremost lawyers. The Beaumonts’ generosity stemmed from their dream to express appreciation for the highly influential education and lasting memories John received from the prestigious faculty and staff. After nearly 50 years of contemplation, the Beaumonts donated the memorial bell tower. The tower stands on the site of the previous Old College Hall — the world’s first college of agriculture.
With the natural setting and each beautiful chime, the memorial tower restores Old College Hall memories and is a source of inspiration to future generations.
The Four Pillars of Tower Guard Tradition
Leadership is not defined by position, nor is it a guaranteed trait of one who has won an election. It is, instead, a lifestyle – something that one must demonstrate on a daily basis, through each interaction, whether it is great or small. The truly great leader does not lead by force or power, but by example. By this example, the leader offers confidence to the group, creating an environment in which human development can be facilitated. Leadership is at times a lonely lifestyle, requiring the ability to admit mistakes, to ask questions that others are afraid to ask, and to put others before one’s own personal welfare. The evidence of truly great leadership can be found only when a group is unable to name their leader, and each member takes pride in their contribution to the overall success of the group.
Scholarship is a commitment one has made to improve himself or herself academically. This commitment shows up on paper, but is expressed within oneself. The motivation for excellence should not be evident only in the classroom, but in all aspects of everyday life.
Service is an unselfish gift from the heart, a sparkle of hope for people in need. It sets the foundation of character and leadership throughout one’s life. Giving of oneself can greatly impact the community, but it can also give the realization that he or she can make a difference.
The final pillar of Tower Guard, character, is reflected in all other pillars combined. Through goodness and strength, this group gives itself unselfishly in community service. Through strong will and devotion, we seek to excel in academics, and through courage and personality, we ask others to follow in our footsteps.