Since its completion in 1924, Swasey Chapel has been Denison’s most iconic structure and one of its most beloved places.
Here we gather for important lectures and performances by our students and faculty and also by internationally renowned artists and opinion leaders, who bring the world to Granville.
Performers in Denison’s Vail Series, for example, have included Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Renee Fleming, Leontyne Price, Wynton Marsalis, Béla Fleck and Dizzy Gillespie.
Lecture series speakers include authors, artists, scientists, civil servants, and thought leaders from every aspect of life. (And, best of all, our visiting artists and speakers tend to get outside Swasey Chapel, too, spending time with students in classrooms, studios, workshops, and casual dinners.)
Swasey Chapel is also home to interfaith religious services and to some of the college’s most celebrated moments, like the Academic Awards Convocation, for which the campus stops in the middle of a busy spring day to honor students and faculty for their scholarly and civic achievements.
And, of course, it’s home to the occasional surprise, like the time Steve Carell ’84 showed up for a comedy improv performance with alumni and current students in Denison’s Burpee Seedy’s Theatrical Company. (OK, it was sort of a surprise—the secret had leaked out before show time, so Swasey was packed to the rafters.) The chapel also has been the scene of numerous weddings of Denison alumni.
The point is, Swasey’s part of the heart of Denison. It’s one of the places we get to know each other and the world around us. It’s where we see and hear the sort of beauty that changes us. It’s where brilliant insight sheds light on complicated issues. It’s where we have good reasons to clap and cheer and even shed a few happy tears. It’s where alumni gather when they come back to campus. It’s part of what makes Denison feel like home.