Elsie Porter, 89, a lifelong resident of Orange, is proud to have the new $25-million School of Law at Chapman University in her hometown.
The sight of the 90-foot clock tower at the Kennedy Hall law building has been a thrill for her, but she noticed no one could read the Pralle Tower clock, which faces west, unless they were in front of the building.
When Porter asked about adding clock faces on the north and south sides of the tower, college officials said it would be too costly. So Porter decided last week to donate $42,000 to the university to get the job done.
"It just seemed obvious to me that the beautiful tower at the new law school needed clock faces which could be seen by travelers on North Glassell Street," Porter said. "I think the new law school building looks just wonderful. And having the law school located in our community, that is a great source of pride for Orange citizens."
Chapman University trustee Doy Henley said architects are drafting engineering drawings to add a clock face on the north and south sides of the tower and expects the project will be completed by the end of the year.
"It's so exciting to have someone who has a historical base with the city be a part of this," said Henley, who is also vice chairman of the university relations committee. "We are working real hard to maintain a good relationship with our neighbors near the university. This is a very positive response to this policy of being a good neighbor."
Porter was born in 1910 in a house on Eckhoff Street, which was named after her father, Fred Eckhoff. She graduated from Orange Union High School in 1928, 26 years before the university moved into the building.
After graduating from Santa Barbara State College, now UC Santa Barbara, Porter married and raised her family in Orange, where she and her husband grew oranges and owned a real estate development business.
"Orange has been very good for our family, and I'm extremely happy to be able to give something back in the form of those clocks," Porter said.
Marissa Espino can be reached at (714) 966-5879.