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All Faiths Chapel Set For Facelift, Thanks To Former Students' Gifts

Scot Walker '90 December 11, 2013 6:34 PM

From Texas A&M News & Information Services

All Faiths Chapel, constructed more than a half century ago as a gift to Texas A&M University from its alumni, will soon get a facelift — thanks in part to financial support provided by former students who give back to their alma mater through The Association of Former Students.

The chapel, one of the relatively few such facilities in the nation on the campus of a public university, is used on an almost daily basis by a variety of faith-based organizations, mostly student groups. Over its 58-year existence, it’s also been the site of thousands of Aggie weddings and numerous memorial services.

“Faith plays a vital role in the lives of many Aggies,” notes Kathryn Greenwade, Association vice president and a 1988 Texas A&M graduate.  “The Association of Former Students is proud to have been a part of creating and maintaining a facility that provides inspiration and fellowship for Aggies of all faiths.  Our involvement in this project is an example of the many ways our former students and their financial gifts enhance the Aggie experience.” 

Although The Association of Former Students is the major source of funding for past and proposed construction and related work, the facility is operated and maintained by the University Center and Special Events Office, which is headed by Billy Bielamowicz.  

Most of the renovations will be of an interior nature, such as repairing or replacing well-worn seating and installing new carpeting, Bielamowicz notes.

Despite being nearly six decades old, the building has stood the test of time – still impressive in its contemporary design, most observers agree. It is the work of Richard Vrooman, a 1952 Texas A&M graduate who created the winning design in competition sponsored by The Association of Former Students — competition conducted exclusively among Aggies  holding architecture degrees.

The chapel is nestled in a central campus area surrounded by residence halls, classroom buildings and one of the university’s major dining halls.

Neil Peltier, an assistant director of the University Center and Special Events Office who oversees daily operations for the chapel, said several student groups use the chapel on a regular or frequent basis.

“We think it’s important for students to have the opportunity to develop spiritually, and it’s highly appropriate for them to have an attractive and conducive place to do so,” Peltier said, adding that All Faiths Chapel meets that need for small groups.

Bill Cox, also an assistant director at the center, agreed, emphasizing the chapel is available to all students but said most of the users are faith-based organizations, including the Campus Ministry Association, a voluntary organization of ministers, priests, a rabbi and professional religious workers that provides pastoral care for Texas A&M students.

As its name suggests, All Faiths Chapel welcomes people of all religions to express their spirituality and develop their beliefs. “We celebrate the diversity of faiths of our campus community,” Peltier says pointing out a plaque in the chapel entry with a quote from the book of Isaiah that reads, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

“Also, some individual students go there to meditate and some go there to study,” Cox said, adding “it’s quiet over there.”

Peltier said renovation at All Faiths Chapel is scheduled to start after the 2014 spring semester to minimize disruptions for student activities conducted there.

“We think the students who use it will be really excited when they see it after it reopens in July,” Peltier concluded.


Media Contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662

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