Published: November 30, 2010
On Friday, Dec. 10, The University of Tampa will dedicate a building
that has become one of Tampa’s most unique structures and one of the
University’s most impactful facilities on student life — the Sykes
Chapel and Center for Faith and Values.
The 65-foot tall,
15,000-square-foot building is an interfaith facility intended to help
students understand diversity, world religions and cultures, realize the
importance of character, develop a sense of purpose and self-awareness
through reflection, and learn to make decisions based on principles,
beliefs and values.
The project, which has been on the campus’
master plan since 1996, was set in motion in May 2008, when Susan and
John H. Sykes announced a lead gift to fund the $19.5 million center.
The Sykes will speak at the dedication, along with UT President Ronald
L. Vaughn and other UT administrators, donors, faculty and students. The
dedication will be held at 2 p.m. on campus. For members of the public
who wish to attend, RSVPs are requested at (813) 257-3019.
dedication is long awaited by many people and for many different
reasons,” Vaughn said. “Having such a place will elevate the
intellectual discourse at UT and nurture the development of character
and values of our students.”
The centrally-located building
includes a 260-seat main hall, meeting and meditation rooms, art glass
and sculpture, and two meditation gardens. The Chapel/Center’s exterior
of brick and granite, as well as the zinc roof, references UT’s
tradition of brick construction at UT, as well as the stainless steel
minarets atop Plant Hall. Glass, warm cherry wood and granite graces the
interior, as well as extensive use of natural light.
most notable in the Chapel/Center is the 3,184-pipe custom-built pipe
organ, which soars 55 feet tall in the west end of the main hall. 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. A “first sounding” of the organ will be held at the
dedication, along with tours of the entire building and surrounding
gardens — the Sunrise Garden to the east and the intimate Sykes
Meditation Garden to the west.
Organ concerts have already been
scheduled for dates in January, February, March and April. For more
information, go to www.ut.edu/sykeschapel.
The art glass in the
meditation rooms and doorways were designed by glass artist Guy Kemper,
and the granite and stainless steel sculpture in the meditation garden
was designed by sculptor Clint Button.
There are currently nine
student organizations on campus where discussions on character, values
and religious issues are the primary focus. Plus, UT has more than 30
partnerships with community places of worship in the Tampa Bay area.
such a beautiful facility in the heart of campus reminds everyone that a
full existence has multiple components: intellectual, emotional,
physical and spiritual,” said Joseph Sclafani, professor of psychology
and member of the Resource Team for Faith, Values and Spirituality,
which will help direct programming at the Chapel/Center.
and Susan Sykes have been longtime benefactors of The University of
Tampa. In 1999 the University acknowledged John H. Sykes by naming its
College of Business in his honor. In 2000, John and Susan Sykes made
another gift to help build the Vaughn Center. The current chair of UT’s
Board of Trustees, Gene McNichols, and his family also contributed
significantly to the funding of the chapel.
“We remain grateful
to the Sykes, and the McNichols, for their gifts that we believe will
aid in students’ own discovery and development processes and support
deeper understanding of world religions and cultures,” Vaughn said.
the future, the Chapel/Center will anchor a quadrangle plaza suitable
for a wide range of campus events and student gatherings.
incredible amount of research and careful attention to detail at each
stage of the project ensures the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and
Values will be a special place for decades to come,” Vaughn said.
Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values will represent the 12th
completely new building on UT’s campus in the past decade.
The project architect was tvsdesign of Atlanta, and the contractor was Peter R. Brown of St. Petersburg.