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Kevin Aikman at work


Alumnus restores antique wall clock in East College

Kevin Aikman ’82 was up for a challenge. It would require submitting a proposal to his alma mater, booking two round trips between Vienna and Greencastle and spending a little over six months on the restoration of an 8-foot-tall, alt-Deutsch wall clock hanging in East College. The clock was a gift to DePauw from the class of 1882, its restoration a gift from Aikman.

What precipitated this idea? 

Aikman wanted to do something special for DePauw in memory of his father, James Patrick Aikman ’57, longtime director of public relations for DePauw University. He was also editor of the Alumnus Magazine. “There was no bigger fan of DePauw than my father and he remained so till the end of his life,” says Aikman. 

East College drew Aikman back. “Meharry Hall is my favorite room in the world,” he says. “I attended concerts here conducted by Herman Berg. And as a 14-year-old, I was fascinated by its pipe organ.” University organist Arthur Carkeek and his wife Maureen, a pianist and teacher, nurtured Aikman’s interest in organ-building and music, answering daily phone calls about pipe organs. Their investment in Aikman made it possible for him to open a pipe organ repair business after college. 

But what about clocks?

How did the organ-repairing, opera-singing Aikman become a clockmaker? After years of repairing pipe organs, an opera teacher teaching summer courses in the U.S. had prompted a move to Austria. There, Aikman continued to study voice and worked in facilities management for large companies. Nearing retirement, he pursued clockmaking with master clockmaker Frederick Reich, a neighbor and friend. The two would later work on the DePauw clock together. 

Having repaired dozens of clocks, Aikman is reminded of what this DePauw clock means to him. Gratitude for family, caring DePauw staff and faculty. The luck of having great friends and neighbors. And the Greencastle community. “A dream place.” He adds, “East College is DePauw to me. An inspired place with integrity, sophistication, longevity and an abundance of positive energy. The clock has all those things and is now a fitting complement.”

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DePauw Magazine

Fall 2023

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