The Bounder Bells at UMKC

A traditional element of UMKC’s commencement ceremonies is the ringing of the Bounder Bells —the carillon is located in the tower of UMKC’s Swinney Recreation Center.

The Bounder Bells at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

On May 12, 1989, the Bounders officially “returned’ to the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City) with the dedication of the Van Bergen 49-bell carillon. The Bounder Bells project was an idea of Dick Erickson. Jim Job, Ken Hill and Jim Jouras helped with the initial organization of the fund raising effort. The bells were purchased with nearly $30,000 in donations from 90 Bounder Brothers and a plaque commemorating those who donated is mounted on the bell tower base. The “Bounder Bells” are controlled by an electronic keyboard and ring on the hour and also can be programmed to play melodies and —yes — included is the song “Drink a Toast to Thee Forever.”

Bounder Fraternity History

Founded as a social fraternity in 1936 on the campus of the University of Kansas City, “The Bounders” were an integral part of campus life for 30 years.

The name “Bounder” was derived from a British colloquialism that meant “ungentlemanly” or, as the British might say, “a cad.”

“What’s in a name?” was the question that students might well have asked as the Who’s Who of KCU always contained names of Bounders. During the fraternity’s heyday, during and after WWII as veterans moved through the educational system, UKC’s student leaders were usually Bounders. Bounders, in fact, played a major role in the dismissal of the University’s president in 1952.

Ex-Bounders were the leaders in the early stages of the UMKC alumni organization, serving as the association’s presidents and serving on the Board of Directors.

Still, the tradition carried on as Bounders have demonstrated successful leadership roles in business, community and government after their campus experiences.

In 1956, the Bounder Fraternity became a national fraternity, as did all fraternities at the University of Kansas City. The Bounders became affiliated with Delta Chi fraternity, which continues today at what is now the University of Missouri-Kansas City.