Interfaith Center to Be Built at University of Chicago

August 26, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune

On August 26, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "With its neo-gothic majesty and its conspicuous location on the University of Chicago campus, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel was designed as an unavoidable reminder to students that faith was a central part of their education. John D. Rockefeller, who donated $1.5 million toward the chapel's construction in 1910, believed that. So did William Rainey Harper, the university's first president. Their new chapel was interdenominational, but for those two Baptists, in the early part of the 20th Century, there was little question that the faith at stake was Protestant Christianity. Nearly a century later, the university has 35 religious groups on campus, from Hindus to Muslims, Baha'is to Quakers, many of whom meet in makeshift spaces in the student union or elsewhere on campus. In an effort to bring those faiths to a central location and encourage dialogue among different traditions, the university is renovating the basement of the massive chapel to provide a multifaith home for campus believers. The renovations will create an octagonal-shaped room for Muslim prayer and another one for Hindu prayer, each holding up to about 25 students. A third room will be built for events or meetings, holding about 75 people. And two existing meeting rooms for 25 will be upgraded."