Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Alumni Hall/Chapel

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Institution Name: Niagara University
Original/Historic Place Name: Alumni Chapel
Location on Campus: NW Side
Date(s) of Construction:
1874-1888original construction
1980restoration Gilsoul, Benoit
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone
Roof: slate
1888-present (2006)chapel
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

Construction of Alumni chapel was a 14-year project that began in 1874 and was finished in 1888. Niagara University's fourth president, Father Robert E. V. Rice, C.M., hoped to build the chapel and to establish a congregation apart from the seminary chapel. Lack of funds, however, stalled the project until an alumnus, the Rev. James O'Conor, started a successful fund-raising project among the alumni in 1887.

The chapel was destroyed twice by fire, once in 1898 and again in 1913. After the second fire, it did not reopen until 1919. The first floor of the building is used for administrative offices, including the president's. The chapel is located on the second floor. Belgian-born artist Benoit Gilsoul oversaw the most recent restoration in the 1980s.


McKey, Joseph. History of Niagara University and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels 1856-1931. Niagara County, NY: Niagara University, 1931.

Niagara University Alumni Chapel History and Guide. Niagara, NY: Niagara University Office of Public Relations, 1995.

Niagaran Centennial Edition Yearbook. [Niagara, NY: Niagara University], 1956.


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Last update: November 2006