History of The White Chapel
The White Chapel opened August 25, 2001, and was officially dedicated on October 7 of the same year. Its full name is The John R. and Elizabeth L. White Chapel in recognition of the $1.5 million lead gift the generous Terre Haute couple made. A 1947 mechanical engineering graduate and recipient of a 1997 honorary doctor of engineering degree, John was president and founder of Hydro-Power, Inc. The Whites' son, Steve, and granddaughter, Anne Trueblood, are also Rose-Hulman graduates. John White passed away November 23, 2001.
In addition to the Whites, the following individuals also made generous contributions to make it possible to build and equip the White Chapel.
- Fred W. Goetsch, Jr.
- George Kyle in memory of his late wife Betty Jane
- Alfred R. Schmidt
- Vic Vickery in memory of his late wife Jean Elizabeth
- Bruce R. Walsh Trust
- Marian White Woosley
During the dedication ceremony, attended by a capacity crowd of 205 people, the Rose-Hulman chorus performed Let There be Peace on Earth, Amazing Grace and America the Beautiful. Andy Mech, a professor of mechanical engineering, was a featured soloist. Students and mechanical engineering professor Patricia Brackin offered inspirational readings. Interestingly, the dedication ceremony was the first event telecast live on the Rose-Hulman Web site.
Designed by VOA Associates of Chicago, the 5,000-square-foot chapel has been honored by the Associated General Contractors of Indiana for innovation and excellence. The chapel comprises a wedge-shaped nave supported by an entryway, counseling offices and other facilities to accommodate special events. It contains movable chairs that enable the facility to accommodate a variety of audiences. Diamond-shaped, stainless steel panels clad the exterior of the arched roof. The shell is split by a series of vertical ribbon windows and a continuous ridge skylight. The entire east end of the chapel is made of glass so the campus creates a backdrop for activities within the chapel. An outdoor garden terrace creates a forecourt to the chapel. A waterfall and water channel define the southern edge of the terrace, creating a boundary between the everyday world and this special place.
The altar table, lectern and two side tables are constructed of red oak from trees that once stood on the northeast corner of campus. VOA designed the furniture, and it was built by one of Rose-Hulman's own: Gary Burgess, facilities manager of the John T. Myers Center for Technological Research with Industry.
Since opening, the chapel has been used by campus organizations for worship services and is a popular place for alumni to be wed.