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Summerall Chapel

Stained Glass Windows Restoration Project

You may make your gift securely online by visiting: https://foundation.citadel.edu/StainedGlassWindows


We all have our own fond memories of Summerall Chapel, which is over 80 years old now. Way back when, I remember, as a knob, that it was the coldest and quietest place on campus. Sometimes I would go in there, dump my books on a back pew, and just sit and hope for a little encouragement. Sometimes it only took a few minutes, and then other times it perhaps took a little longer.

Today, our beautiful stained glass windows are showing their age and starting to fall apart. They are in dire need of our support to repair and restore these iconic windows.

An Advisory Committee has been formed to launch a campaign to repair and restore these historic stained glass windows. Our target figure is to raise $2 million by December 31, 2023. We have an estimate from one contractor of roughly $1.6 million, but that is in today’s dollars, and experience with other projects on campus suggests that the cost will increase over time unless we can raise funds quickly. Any funds raised in excess of an approved bid will be put into the Summerall Chapel’s general operating fund.

We have executed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Citadel Foundation to secure their support of our fundraising efforts, As a result, all gifts are tax-deductible and will count toward your personal lifetime and class giving totals. You will be hearing more about this project as we move forward.

The Class of 1974 jump-started this campaign last Fall (2019) and has already raised over $120,000 toward its goal of $250,000 by December 31, 2021. This amount will count toward the overall goal of $2 million. With that goal in mind, we will certainly need other classes to join in this effort.

We encourage you to support this project with your most generous gifts and pledges. You may support the efforts by sending a check made out to:

The Citadel Foundation
171 Moultrie Street
Charleston, SC 29409

Please note on Check FOR:
“Summerall Chapel Stained Glass Restoration Fund”

You may also make your gift securely online by visiting: https://foundation.citadel.edu/StainedGlassWindows

We ask that you circulate this note around to your Citadel contacts and friends to encourage them to support this time-sensitive project.

Thank you so much for your consideration and support of this critical effort!

CHAPEL WINDOW


Built in 1936, Summerall Chapel has held a special place in the life of the Corps of Cadets since its dedication. The cornerstone of the chapel was laid on September 7, 1936. The first service was held almost a year later on September 9, 1937 and the chapel was dedicated on April 10, 1938 as the Cadet Chapel.  After General Summerall's retirement as president of the Citadel in June of 1953, the name was officially changed to the General Pelot Summerall Chapel.

Cruciform in design, the chapel is in the style of 14th century Gothic architecture. The great chancel window, located directly behind the altar, was dedicated in 1942 as a memorial to all Citadel graduates who gave their lives in their country's cause. It portrays exemplars and symbols or courage, sacrifice, religion, truth, duty, loyalty, patriotism, faith, charity, prayer, adoration, praise and immortality. The furniture throughout is plain sawed Appalachian Mountain white oak stained cathedral brown. The ceiling and timbering are pine. All of the stained glass was designed at a single studio and consequently is concordant throughout. Handcrafted wrought iron lighting fixtures hang throughout the chapel.  

Summerall Chapel is a shrine of religion, of patriotism and of remembrance. Every time the Corps marched the length of the parade ground, they could see the words, “Remember Now Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Marching inside, the Corps saw the flags and the stained glass windows calling them to remembrance and reverence. Once the Corps was seated, the Color Guard marched in with precision and ceremoniously placed the flags of The Citadel and the United States in a position of honor and respect. The inscription above the altar, "To the Glory of God, and In Memory of The Citadel's Patriot Dead" served as a reminder of all who had gone before and lived the values of The Citadel.

Today, Summerall Chapel remains a special place in the lives of the Corps as well as its alumni. In the first place, it is for many of our cadets a place of sanctuary, a safe haven away from the constraints and stresses of cadet life. Secondly, it is of course a place of worship. Throughout the school year, there are weekly Catholic and Protestant services of worship on Sundays and an Episcopal worship service on Monday evenings. Cadets provide dynamic vibrant leadership in all of these services. Finally, it is for all who enter a place of prayer. It’s not uncommon throughout the week to find staff and faculty sitting in prayer. The inscriptions, windows and ceremony still embody for each new generation the focus of ministry at the chapel and its importance to cadets who need a source of strength beyond their personal means.                        

Nondenominationality. Since it is entirely nonsectarian, Summerall Chapel can belong to no particular denomination.

Class Windows. After the completion of the Chapel, each of the classes (up through the Class of 1944) had the opportunity to purchase a window as a lasting memorial to its members. The class windows show the life of Christ in superb stained glass with each window depicting some important event in His life. The great chancel window, located directly behind the altar, was dedicated in 1942 as a memorial to all Citadel graduates who have given their lives in their country's cause. It portrays exemplars and symbols of courage, sacrifice, religion, truth, duty, loyalty, patriotism, faith, charity, prayer, adoration, praise, and immortality.

Medallions. The facade and transept windows are made up of a number of units or "medallions," provided by families or friends of the men whom they commemorate. Only those who have been Citadel cadets and a few designated faculty and staff are so honored. The design of each of these medallions represents symbolically the person whom it commemorates. In keeping with the democratic spirit of the institution, all medallions are identical in size and in fineness of design.

Inscription. The inscription across the front of Summerall Chapel reading, "Remember Now Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth," summarizes the spiritual atmosphere at The Citadel.

Chaplain to the Corps. The office of the Chaplain to the Corps is located in the rear of the chapel.

 

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