Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Stetson Chapel

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Institution Name: Kalamazoo College
Original/Historic Place Name: Stetson Chapel
Location on Campus: quadrangle
Date(s) of Construction:
1932original construction Embury II, Aymar
Designer: Amyar Embury II
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: culture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: brick
Roof: slate shingles
 
Function:
1932-present (2006)auditorium (assembly hall and concert hall)
1932-present (2006)chapel
 

Narrative:
Kalamazoo College president Allan Hoben did not believe a Christian College should exist without a chapel as the physical and moral focal point of the campus. He told the Board of Trustees that the College needed a chapel to identify itself to the outside world and the Board agreed.

Dedicated on April 22, 1932, the 99th anniversary of the College's founding, the student newspaper called Stetson Chapel "a birthday present for the college." Since its opening, Stetson Chapel has served as the center of the college community, hosting major convocations, lectures, and concerts as well as campus chapel services. Speakers as diverse as J. Edgar Hoover, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Abernathy, B.F. Skinner, and Stephen J. Gould have addressed the college community from its podium.

In 1984, as part of its Sesquicentennial celebration, Kalamazoo College installed and dedicated English tower bells in the chapel tower. At that time there were less than twenty locations in the country with a similar set of bells.

Closed during 1986-1987 for major acoustical renovation, the chapel was rededicated in 1987 and called simply "the soul of the campus."
 

References:

Goodsell, Charles, and Willis Dunbar. Centennial History of Kalamazoo College. Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo College, 1933.

 

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Last update: November 2006