Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Fisher Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: Rockford College
Original/Historic Place Name: Fisher Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: 5050 E. State St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1967-1968original construction Perkins + Will
Designer: Perkins & Will
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: cement
Walls: brick
Roof: originally cedar wood, now copper
ca. 1968-present (2006)chapel (also houses Campus Ministry)

In December of 1965, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Fisher made a gift to Rockford College that enabled the construction of a chapel in memory of their daughter, Pauline Fisher Johnson, a Rockford graduate of the class of 1933, and Dr. John Gordon, former minister of the Second Congregational Church and former Trustee and Acting President of Rockford College.

The Fisher Memorial Chapel stands as a clear symbol of the college's continuing commitment to the spiritual life of its students and of the college's conviction that the human intellect must be guided by higher obligations in order to fulfill our humanity. The design and furnishings of the chapel reflect the intention of the school to try to help each student pursue his or her own devotions according to whatever faith is most meaningful to them.

Fisher Memorial Chapel is essentially a quiet, serene, and meditative place and a relatively small building compared to others on campus. The architects chose the pyramid form so that the importance of the structure and its purpose would not be minimized by its relative size. The location of the building is the central focus of the campus, and its placement attends to the double objectives of convenience and remoteness.

The Campus Ministry offers a variety of activities that involve students in services and programs that relate religion to the academic and social areas of college life. This is done by providing programs that appeal to students' special interests, major fields of study, and vocational objectives, as well as by offering special services and social events throughout the school year. Students are given responsibilities in the planning and performance of religious activities, so that they might become capable, creative contributors to religious groups during and after their college careers. The Campus Ministry is a voluntary program, with all groups and activities open to all members of the college community.

Additionally, every year 50-75 couples exchange marriage vows in the chapel. It is an interdenominational place for worship, available both to campus and to the Rockford community. Students and others use it as a place to pray, meditate, read, or sit quietly and listen to music.


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Last update: November 2006