Alumni Chapel: Campus Landmark, Memorial and Place of Worship


For over 65 years, The University of Central Missouri’s Alumni Chapel has offered a place for students to gather in the middle of campus. First proposed in 1944 and finished in 1956, the chapel stands as a memorial to those from the UCM community who gave their service and their lives in World War II.

“Having some type of memorial for those that fought and lost their lives in that conflict, and in all conflicts, provides a reminder as part of our campus identity of a commitment to service, a commitment to our country,” Tom Goldstein, UCM associate professor of History, said. “A reminder for later generations that these are the sacrifices made by people that have walked in these same footsteps as you are walking now, and hopefully inspire them to do something similar when they’re called upon.”

On May 19, 1957, Edell Schaefer and Ken Buhlig were the first college student couple to be married at the memorial chapel after its completion, making history and establishing a trend to be followed by many after them.

Today, students said they see the alumni chapel as a pleasant piece of architecture, a classroom and a place of worship.

“It’s a beautiful space, really, it’s very well put together,” UCM Junior Matthew Rudowske said. “It’s nice to have a chapel on the campus where students can go pray if they need to, you can hold ceremonies there. I’m big on aesthetics, and that chapel is gorgeous.”
Student organizations often reserve the space for larger or more ceremonial gatherings.

“My sorority used the chapel for initiation when we welcome our new members into the official chapter,” UCM student Savanah Ackley said. “I think a lot of students don’t know what it’s for. I didn’t even know what it was until my sorority introduced me to it.”

The chapel also continues to serve as a regular place of worship on campus.

Religious student organizations frequent the chapel, including the Catholic Newman Center. According to Newman Center Outreach Coordinator Adam Royer, the center holds mass followed by a dinner each Sunday at the chapel.

Royer said that the chapel is a good place to go to reconnect with your spirit and faith during college.

“I think it gives the community at UCM a place that everybody can go to and feel welcome.”

— Newman Center Outreach Coordinator, Adam Royer

Royer said. “We have a lot of international students and students who don’t have modes of transportation. So, the alumni chapel offers a space for these students who don’t have cars or are international students where they can go to church.”