Alumni give $50,000 to King Chapel

Three alumni have pledged a total of $50,000 toward the renovation Cornell College’s historic King Chapel, the centerpiece of campus.

Joanne Findley ’50 of Macomb, Ill. has pledged $25,000, as have Mark Hanawalt ’74 and his wife, Barbara Norton Hanawalt ’74 of Waverly, Iowa. Their gifts will help the college’s $2.5 million restoration of the campus icon. This project will restore building integrity, repair damaged exteriors, alleviate the effects of settling, and create a weather-tight building. It also will improve access to the Chapel by replacing the chair lift with an elevator.

Their gifts will go toward the $137,000 needed to match a $100,000 State Historical Society challenge grant for the restoration of the chapel.

Continuing to keep King Chapel a relevant, vital part of campus is important to the alumni.

Joanne Findley

Findley said that even nearly 60 years after graduating, she still remembers the chapel well. It was a key part of campus, she said, with students still gathering for chapel services every day. Until 1957, required chapel services—which included announcements, programs, lectures, and performances, Findley said—happened every weekday morning.

But beyond the chapel services, Findley has other fond memories of King Chapel, including walking by and hearing a classmate practice on the chapel’s organ. “That organ is an awesome instrument,” she said.

Mark and Barb Hanawalt

The organ, along with innumerable other musical performances, are a part of the memories of many alumni, include the Hanawalts. Mark and Barbara Hanawalt met through the music program at Cornell. Mark Hanawalt said that while he focused more on economics and business, he and his wife performed many times on the Chapel’s stage, and he can’t think of a better venue to either experience or perform a concert.

“It’s a very intimate space to perform in and to listen in,” he said.

The fact that King Chapel is a touchstone to so many alumni and current students is what makes the project so important, according to Peter Wilch, vice president for alumni and college advancement.

“King Chapel has long been the icon of Cornell College,” he said. “We want to ensure that future generations of Cornellians  have the benefit of experiencing the chapel.  We are grateful to the generous leadership support of Mark and Barbara Hanawalt and Joanne Findley.”

These gifts  are  part of Cornell College’s comprehensive campaign Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College. The campaign concludes on June 30, 2010, and will enhance the student experience by providing increased support through the endowment, upgrading facilities, and enhancing the academic program.

For more information about the campaign or to make a gift, visit or contact Peter Wilch, Vice President for Alumni and College Advancement at 319-895-4315 or