Swasey Chapel
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Swasey Chapel

Established: 
1924
Current Use: 

The chapel is often filled to capacity for notable campus events: baccalaureate services during commencement weekend, academic awards convocations honoring outstanding student achievements, and Vail Series concerts with such illustrious artists as YoYo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Renee Fleming.

History & Architecture

Swasey Chapel was the first building in the ambitious "Greater Denison" plan of 1917 and honors Ambrose Swasey, a self-made man noted for his generosity of both time and money. Its chimes are a memorial to Swasey's wife, Lavinia Marston Swasey. Built in 1924, the chapel is in English Stuart Revival style influenced by the London churches of Sir Christopher Wren. Bedford limestone and Harvard brick laid in Flemish bond grace its exterior. The signature building of Denison's campus, it stands at the center of the campus.

Seating 990, the chapel is often filled to capacity for notable campus events: baccalaureate services during commencement weekend, academic awards convocations honoring outstanding student achievements, and Vail Series concerts with such illustrious artists as YoYo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Renee Fleming. When the thermal currents are favorable, "culture vultures," better known to birders as turkey vultures, often perch on the steeple.

Central Campus
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In 2013, the number of bells in Swasey Chapel was expanded. Now the student Bell Ringer’s Society has an even larger repertoire of classical, ecclesiastical, pop and show tunes to choose from when they play these lovely bells three times each weekday.
Designer/Architect: 
Arnold Brunner of Cleveland
Building Style: 
Bedford limestone and Harvard brick laid in Flemish bond. English Stuart Revival style influenced by the London churches of Sir Christopher Wren.

Swasey Chapel is home to some of the college’s most celebrated moments. This brief video, complete with a performance by Jolyn Tsai '13, gives a glimpse into why it’s one of the places Denisonians love best.

Swasey Chapel

Swasey Chapel is the locus of so much campus activity, from lectures and presentations to convocations. Enjoy this gallery of familiar and unusual perspectives of a signature building.