UCB Libraries


The John Garrey Tippit Memorial Sundial

Norlin Commons / Orientation

Norlin Sundial Plaza


The John Garrey Tippit Memorial Sundial is located outside Norlin Library's east entrance. It is a gift of the John H. Tippit family -- strong supporters of the University and the Libraries -- as a memorial to John Garrey Tippit, a 1969 CU Boulder graduate who died in a 1970 accident. He was 24 years old.


John had just graduated from CU Boulder and was looking forward to commencing studies in the fall at the University of Denver Law School. He was working on a construction project, building a dam in Wyoming during the summer. It was supposed to be his day off, but John was working for a friend when a methane explosion tragically ended his life.


Since his death, the family had been looking for a project that would provide a useful and lasting addition to the Boulder campus.


Dedication and groundbreaking took place on 12 May 1995.


Norlin Commons / Orientation


The John Garrey Tippit Memorial Sundial is an equatorial sundial located at 40.00825°N latitude, 105.26997°W longitude as approximated by NGS topographic map. The 10,000 pound, rose granite sundial stands five feet high, six feet in diameter and 6.375 inches in thickness. The gnomon shaft is steel, extending from the ground through the dial plate and outward another two feet. It is designed to be read from the upper surface in Spring/Summer, and from the lower surface in Fall/Winter. Radiating lines with Arabic numerals. Graduated in half-hours with 5 minute marks.


The sundial coordinates provided here were determined by using a GPS device courtesy of Mark Haury.


Sundial - animated gif

Latitude: N 40°00.502'
Longitude: W 105°16.211'


For information about sundials:



George Norlin would have appreciated the addition of this sundial. He greatly appreciated the beauty of the Boulder campus:

"To the best of my ability I have stood for the things of the spirit. Yet, I have felt that the physical beauty of the campus -- a campus worthy of the splendid setting with which nature has endowed it, a campus worthy to be the outward frame of the University's soul, would be an educational force enhancing the morale and spirit of all who come into and go forth from its halls."


For more CU Boulder campus information:



Sundial - animated gif

Sundial Plaza before renovation (click to see 360 animated view)


Norlin Commons / Orientation

Sundial Plaza during the August 2009 easst plaza renovation.


After commencement exercises, graduates, families and friends gather around the sundial at the Norlin Library east entrance.