Refurbishing ‘soul of campus’ focus of Hastings College Foundation campaign

Telltale signs of a 2022 hail storm that caused significant damage across the community and campus remain visible on Hastings College’s iconic French Memorial Chapel: the north facing arched windows remain broken and held together in spots with duct tape.

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North-facing windows in French Memorial Chapel are held together in parts with duct tape.

While most other damage on campus has been repaired, including the Chapel’s copper spire, which was replaced last month, the Chapel’s windows need more than just new glass.

“After 74 years, the wood framing for the beautiful arched windows is rotted and can’t hold new glass,” said Chelsea LeMar, executive director of the Hastings College Foundation and a 2007 Hastings College graduate. “While insurance will cover the cost of new glass, the cost to rebuild each of the windows is significant.”

While gathering costs to rebuild all the windows, she said, it became clear that other components in the building, such as outdated stage rigging and stage and house lighting, also needed to be upgraded or replaced. When added together, the cost to replace the arched windows, a dozen other double-hung windows in the building and make other upgrades totaled about $630,000.

“French Memorial Chapel is the soul of campus,” LeMar said. “The Chapel where people come together, find common ground and celebrate the liberal arts.”

The goal is to secure gifts and pledges for the revitalization by May 31. Gifts may be made at The Chapel is also the College’s focus for Give Hastings Day, the community’s day of giving on May 2.

Completed in 1950, the Chapel is named for former Hastings College President Dr. Calvin H. French. At that time, weekly religious services were required for all students.

The luminaries who have graced the Chapel’s stage for performance and lectures include contralto Marion Anderson, astronauts Scott Carpenter and Clayton Anderson, Carol Spinney of “Sesame Street” and New York Times-bestselling author Alex Kava.

French Memorial Chapel has also served as the setting for many weddings, funerals, graduations, music performances, school concerts and youth play productions.

Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. Discover more at

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