Photo courtesy of: University Advancement
May 4, 2012
By Kelee Riesbeck
An annual giving program that aims to benefit The Helen Mauck Galbreath Memorial Chapel Building (commonly known as Galbreath Chapel) has been established by a group of Ohio University alumni and friends to support and enhance the revered space located on the University's College Green in Athens.
The Chapel was built in 1957 and was a gift from John W. Galbreath in memoriam of his wife, Helen, a 1919 alumna who died in 1946. It was the first building in the University's history to be presented by an individual as a gift. Mrs. Galbreath, the former Helen Mollineux Mauck, was the daughter of the prominent Mauck family of Gallipolis, Ohio.
In keeping with Mr. Galbreath's wishes, the chapel welcomes people of all faiths and has served as a place for quiet reflection for students and the University community, says Athens resident and former OHIO employee Wendy Weiser, who helped establish The Friends of Galbreath Chapel Fund.
"During difficult times, the Chapel has provided a centrally located space for the University community to reflect and think about what was happening in their world," she said. "Given that it was built 55 years ago, it was progressive for the Galbreath's to conceive of a space that was not reflective of any religion. You don't have to be religious to need a place for solitude."
The Chapel closed in December 2011, to address safety and accessibility issues. Ohio University Facilities will spend $1 million to replace sections of the Chapel's roof, repair the steeple and cupola, upgrade the HVAC and electrical system, remove hazardous floor tile and adhesive, and provide better handicap accessibility, said Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for Facilities.
"The University has advertised for an architect of record and submittals are being reviewed at this time," he said. "Our goal is to plan for a thoughtful and thorough resolution to the issues facing the Chapel."
The Friends of Galbreath Chapel Fund will provide maintenance dollars for the Chapel going forward, a move that is in line with the Division of Student Affairs priorities for The Promise Lives Campaign, Ohio University's $450 million fundraising campaign that supports students, faculty, programs, outreach and select facilities. Student Affairs aims to raise $2 million by June 2015 to support student programs and facilities improvement, says Kent Smith, vice president for student affairs.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to the group of individuals who came together to establish the Friends of Galbreath Chapel Fund within the Division of Student Affairs," Smith said. "This fund will help to support upkeep and programming within the Chapel for years to come."
Friend Faye Klahn said the building serves as a landmark for the University. Klahn, who received her master's degree in 1977 from the College of Health Sciences and Professions, said helping to establish the Fund is her way of honoring what the building has meant for students and the community.
"Galbreath Chapel has served as such a wonderful venue—for both happy and sad occasions—over the years," she said. "Those among us who revere the building must step forward and help preserve it so it can be available once again to students and all of the campus community."