Picture-perfect celebrations enhance Swasey legacy

Swasey 100
March 8, 2024

Josephine Darrow Shorney 1921 sensed her life was growing short. In the fall of 1995, the 95-year-old wrote to her beloved alma mater to remind the gatekeepers of history about her special place in it.

“Though my days are surely numbered,” Shorney said, “My wedding, May 17, 1924, was the first event to take place in the new chapel.”

The Shorney name is well known on The Hill. It adorns a campus residence hall, and the family has produced a number of Denison graduates. Relatives recall Josephine, better known as “Trot,” as a well-dressed woman who was always up to date on current events.

Her nuptials — which took place a month after the chapel’s April 18, 1924, dedication — marked the first of many great chapel celebrations.

The sanctuary is a place for joy: Weddings, too numerous to track. Baccalaureate and academic award convocations. So many happy memories of surprised President’s Medalists being summoned to the stage and propelled by standing ovations.

“Swasey adds a formality and a unique energy to these events,” said music professor Ching-chu Hu, director of the Vail Series.

Let’s look back at just a few of the many Swasey celebrations.

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