A Changing Campus Landscape: Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel

Interior of Chapel

Interior of the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel

A small natural gas leak was found under the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel in May, which caused this important campus building to close.

Significant progress has been made since then toward capping the abandoned gas well below the Chapel. Plans were set for major renovations to the historic campus structure and for the demolition of the adjacent Pontifical Center and Student Services Building. Both adjacent buildings had been identified for removal in Gannon’s 2009 master plan because they were well past their useful lives.

The landscape at the corner of Peach and Fifth streets changed in early October when the Pontifical Center was demolished to provide access for construction equipment to reach the gas well through a large hole cut into the north wall of the Chapel. The demolition of the Student Services building followed in mid-October.

The work on the well is expected to be completed before winter to ensure the Chapel is weathertight. Additional enhancements are being planned to the Chapel along with the necessary reconstruction over the next several months. The University launched a capital campaign to help fund the renovations and enhance the structure’s appearance and amenities.

The beginnings of a Christian church on this site date back to 1860. The present church was rebuilt in 1950 following devastating fires to the building in 1920 and 1944. Its congregation merged with what is now the First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant on West Sixth Street in 1981. Gannon purchased the property that year to establish the University Chapel, which was dedicated on Oct. 8, 1989.

Become a part of preserving Gannon’s past while shaping the future for our students and our community by donating to the Chapel capital campaign.

To find out more about how to donate, contact Almitra Clerkin, associate vice president for University Advancement, at clerkin002@gannon.edu.

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