September 17, 2009
Bowling Green, Ky. - George ('83) and C.J. ('82) Nichols of Potomac, Md., have stepped forward with a gift of $100,000 in support of the new Chandler Memorial Chapel at Western Kentucky University. In appreciation for this gift, WKU will name the chapel's tower in their honor.
George Nichols, a native of Bowling Green, said he and his wife, C.J., met as students at WKU and were pleased to support the chapel project.
"Being raised in the church and recognizing the critical role it plays in our communities, I continue to be a man of faith and strong spiritual being," he explained. "When I learned of the project, it was a perfect thing for me and my wife to invest in as it was the church community that played such an important role in our lives as we were growing up and that has led us in how we lead our family. For us, to be able to be a part of providing another place on campus to assist in nurturing an important spiritual foundation for students was the right opportunity and a blessing to us. Also, my mother passed away 11 years ago and she taught me that it was more important to be known of good name than of great wealth. Having our family name as a part of the Chapel is also a memorial to her."
Nichols, who currently serves as head of Governmental Affairs for New York Life Insurance Company in Washington, D.C., said his time at WKU had a strong impact upon his later professional life, most notably during his work as a graduate assistant with a sociology professor who was conducting research into labor unions.
"Though I do not work in the labor field, I consider myself to be an effective manager/leader and astute at organizational management," he said. "It was my work at WKU that sowed the seeds to help my career."
The interfaith chapel, envisioned by WKU President Gary Ransdell and announced during the 2008 Homecoming celebration, is currently under construction on College Heights Boulevard, adjacent to the Craig Alumni Center. It is targeted for completion in the late spring of 2010 and will be a place for the campus community to come together during times of both celebration and tragedy. "
As we transform this campus, I've observed that there's a missing element in our first 100 years and that is a place in which our faculty, staff, students, and alumni can express their faith," Dr. Ransdell explained during the Homecoming celebrations last October. "For some time now it has been my intention to help bring about that place on our campus-a place for peace, solitude, and private expressions of faith in a completely non-denominational manner where every person and religion is embraced. And even those who just seek solitude and inspiration without religious context can find comfort."
With a lead gift of $1 million from David Chandler of Bowling Green, the $2 million Chandler Interfaith Chapel has already received almost $1.9 million in gifts from more than 80 alumni and friends.
A key part of the Chapel will be a WKU Columbarium, which will allow WKU alumni and friends to secure a permanent place on sacred WKU ground. Several niches will be built in the chapel and adjacent grounds. These niches will be sold and reserved for the owner(s). An owner's ashes will be permanently sealed in an urn in each personally identified niche. Each owner's name and limited personal information will forever mark the niche.
A "Memorial Wall" will also be available to remember those persons interred elsewhere but who wish to be remembered at WKU.
For more information, visit http://www.wku.edu/chapel .