History of the Chapel

Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel was constructed in the early 1930s with funds from a gift given by Miss Jessie Munger of Plainfield, New Jersey, as a memorial to her father, the late Raymond Munger. Mr. Munger was known as a man of high ideals who was interested in educational projects.

The Chapel was renamed Munger-Wilson Chapel in April of 2014 in honor of Mrs. Frances Wilson and her late husband, Thomas D. Wilson, of Tulsa, Okla. In making her monetary gift in 2014 to renovate as well as maintain the Chapel over time, Mrs. Wilson said, "When I became aware of the important needs in the Chapel, it just struck me that this was the perfect way for me to achieve many things that are important to me. It is my hope that I have appropriately memorialized my husband, Tommy, that I have helped strengthen the spiritual lives of students, and that I have honored God in a fitting way."

Albert O. Clark of Rogers, Arkansas, was the architect and Gomer Kraus of Clarksville was the contractor. Student labor was employed in many phases of the construction.

The dedication service of this chapel was held at 10:30 Wednesday morning, February 8, 1933. The Reverend John J. Moment, pastor of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church of Plainfield, New Jersey, preached the dedicatory sermon. Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie was president of the then College of the Ozarks and performed the Act of Dedication.

This beautiful chapel, which is of Gothic design, built of limestone and trimmed with Nucarth stone, was constructed at a cost of $75,000.00. The interior is finished in oak, beautifully carved. A three manual Reuter organ has been installed. It was dedicated with a recital by an internationally-known organist, Edward Eigenschenk.

One of the most attractive features of the chapel are the windows, all of which are of antique cathedral glass, the three windows over the chancel being exceptionally beautiful. The central panel of the trinity shows Christ, the Light of the World. The left-hand panel shows Peter making his great confession, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.' The right-hand panel shows James the Just, 'Faith without works is dead.'

Through the years many people have passed through the doors of this beautiful chapel. Few could say it left no mark on their lives. There have been many outstanding speakers, uplifting music—both vocal and instrumental and there has been an intangible—the aura of the chapel itself.

Funds were donated in 1984 by the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation for an extensive remodeling of the basement. In 1989 Dr. Jerry L. Rice became the first Dean of the Chapel. Through the effort and generosity of Dr. Rice, Dr. Alvin C. Broyles and numerous friends of the University, the chapel organ was rebuilt in 1991 and named "The Great Hosanna." Diane Meredith Belcher presented an outstanding recital on the organ at the dedication on October 11, 1991.

In the fall of 1991 a carillon was installed in the chapel. This was a gift of the Class of 1941, on the occasion of their 50th graduation anniversary. It is their hope the voice of the 'Spirit of'4l' will ring out for years to come.

Many marriages have been performed in this chapel since its dedication. The ministers who officiated at the ceremonies maintained their personal records, but left no permanent record for the chapel itself.

Taken in part from data collected by Mane Baskin Lewis, Class of 1941, from various University publications.