Attendees talk during Galbreath Chapel open house on Dec. 10

Photographer: Nicholas Hart


President Roderick J. McDavis, Debbie Phillips-Bower (daughter of Jody Galbreath Phillips), Deborah McDavis, Rupert "Twink" Starr and Dianne Albrecht (daughter of Jody Galbreath Phillips) were among the attendees

Photographer: Nicholas Hart

galbreath organ paul barte

School of Music professor Paul Barte plays the pipe organ during the open house

Photographer: Nicholas Hart

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Galbreath Memorial Chapel reopens with open house

Event Services now taking reservations for venue

Members of the Ohio University community celebrated the reopening of the Helen Mauck Galbreath Memorial Chapel on College Green on Dec. 10.  

Numerous faculty, staff, students and alumni, including President Roderick J. McDavis and his wife, Deborah attended the informal open house reception. Associate Professor of Music History Paul Barte entertained the crowd by playing songs on the chapel's pipe organ.

The University closed the chapel in December 2011 to address safety and accessibility issues. RVC Architects Inc. served as the project's architecture firm and Kinsale Corp. filled the general contractor role.

The $1.2 million renovation project began on March 13, 2013, and consisted of a roof replacement and repairs, energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems, updated interior finishes, built in cabinetry, remodeled bathrooms and a redesign of some of the basement rooms. The University also installed an elevator that gives access to the lower level of the building to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Galbreath Chapel was built in 1957 and was a gift from John W. Galbreath in memoriam of his first wife, Helen Mauck Galbreath, a 1919 alumna who died in 1946. It was the first building on campus to be presented by an individual as a gift. The chapel is believed to mark the spot where the Galbreaths shared their first kiss.

Debbie Phillips-Bower, a 1973 alumna who is the granddaughter of John and Helen Galbreath, drove from Columbus, Ohio, to attend the reopening. Debbie's mother, Jody Galbreath Phillips, was a 1946 alumna and became the first woman to chair the Ohio University Board of Trustees in 1974.

"When I was a student here this place was very meaningful," Phillips-Bower said. "It was nice that the University felt the chapel was substantial enough to renovate it. It's very emotional for me. I have
pictures of when it was dedicated the first time and this renovation is very meaningful to my family and the campus."

Dusty Kilgour, Ohio University executive director of event services, talked about the significance of the building on campus.
"We are excited to have it open and available for open prayer and meditation, weddings and for our organ players in the community," said Dusty Kilgour, Ohio University executive director of event services. "It's just a beautiful venue. It was important to have this reopening in order to get the University community in here to see what it looks like now after it has been closed for two years."

Other common uses of the chapel include memorial services, bar mitzvahs, receptions and christenings, as well as organ concerts, musical programs, poetry readings, religions drama, liturgical dance and exhibitions of religious art.

Event Services is accepting reservation requests through July 31, 2014.