Published: December 10, 2010
See the chapel live with UT’s webcam and view photos from the dedication ceremony.
Hundreds of guests of The University of Tampa waited in anticipation
inside the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values. Professor David
Clark Isele, followed by Haig Mardirosian, dean of the College of Arts
and Letters, lifted their hands to the keys and in seconds, filled the
room with music.
The dedication ceremony and sounding of the
3,184-pipe custom-built Dobson organ on Dec. 10 was attended by
dignitaries such as Mayor Pam Iorio.
“We are our values and our faith, and that is what really makes a community,” Iorio said.
Sykes, chairman emeritus of the UT Board of Trustees, said it was an
emotional day for him and his family. Sykes and his wife, Susan,
generously provided a multi-million dollar lead gift for the
construction of a center where values and character could be developed.
Gene McNichols, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife, Patsy,
also provided significant support.
“There are nine faiths on this campus, but when you peel back those
faiths, you’ll see common values,” said John Sykes, “and those values
are what we want to build upon.”
President Ronald L. Vaughn called the chapel a realized dream, part of the University’s master plan since 1996.
and Susan have helped to literally transform this University, and their
generosity has permanently elevated philanthropy in our community,”
Stephanie Russell Holz, associate dean of students
and director of the Office of Students Leadership and Engagement,
recognized the excited anticipation that many people feel for the
chapel. She recognized the Resource Team for Faith, Values and
Spirituality, which is an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff and
students that created the programming series for spiritual life
initiatives. There were also representatives from the Community
Partnership, a group of local worship leaders who support UT students,
and the thriving UT spiritual student organizations. She said all are
“The Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values will
encourage students to entertain and reflect on the deep questions of
meaning, purpose and authenticity that are inevitable in the process of
learning and growing in college,” she said.
Various programs for
the spring semester have been scheduled including a keynote address by
Eboo Patel, executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, on the
importance of religious pluralism and interfaith leadership on March 15
at 7 p.m. Organ concerts have already been scheduled for dates in
January, February, March and April. Built by Dobson Pipe Organ Ltd., the
organ will be ranked as a premier instrument in the state and region
and among the most notable organs in the country.
For more information, go to www.ut.edu/sykeschapel.
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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