Fisher Breaks Ground on New Chapel

July 16, 2016

More than 100 members of the St. John Fisher College community gathered on Saturday, July 16, to break ground on the new Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

Fisher representatives pose before the ceremony begins

The ceremony formally marked the start of construction of the Chapel, a 9,000 square-foot sanctuary that will be built adjacent to Kearney Hall. A tribute to the College’s Catholic heritage, the Chapel will provide the Fisher community with a new center for spiritual life on campus and realizes the founding Basilian Fathers’ early vision for the College. 

The building’s construction, which will cost approximately $3.34 million, is being funded entirely by philanthropic efforts, led by a principal gift from the Hermance Family Foundation. The Foundation gift was granted by Kris Brown Hermance, in honor of her late husband, Ronald E. Hermance, Jr. ’69.

The ceremony formally marked the start of construction of the Chapel, a 9,000 square-foot sanctuary that will be built adjacent to Kearney Hall. A tribute to the College’s Catholic heritage, the Chapel will provide the Fisher community with a new center for spiritual life on campus and realizes the founding Basilian Fathers’ early vision for the College. 

The building’s construction, which will cost approximately $3.34 million, is being funded entirely by philanthropic efforts, led by a principal gift from the Hermance Family Foundation. The Foundation gift was granted by Kris Brown Hermance, in honor of her late husband, Ronald E. Hermance, Jr. ’69.

Chapel Groundbreak

“Through this Chapel, Ron’s dedication to his alma mater and his commitment to service will shine,” President Gerard J. Rooney said as he addressed the audience and members of the Hermance family. “You have helped us realize an important College initiative, and in doing so, you will be sharing Ron's story each and every day through this most special and sacred place.”

Chapel Groundbreaking Ceremony

The ceremony also featured remarks from Martin Birmingham, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Bob Moline ’68, a classmate of Ron Hermance, who spoke on behalf of the family.

“I feel so privileged to have been asked to say a few words about Ron; he embodied the virtues of the Basilian motto of goodness, discipline, and knowledge in so many ways,” said Moline. “When future students enter, pray, and celebrate life in this magnificent Chapel, they will all come to know him for the wonderful example he set.”

Fr. Al Cylwicki, C.S.B., assistant director of campus ministry at Fisher and member of the Board of Trustees, also offered remarks on behalf of the Basilian Fathers.

“The Basilian Fathers are grateful for this Chapel, and it being dedicated to St. Basil the Great, our patron saint and a doctor of the Church,” said Cylwicki. “The Basilian Fathers thank the Hermance family—and all the others who have given so much—for making this groundbreaking day happen.”

During the groundbreaking, the Most Reverend Salvatore Matano, Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, blessed the construction site.

Chapel Groundbreaking Ceremony

“We ask that this Chapel will usher from it students who will be the vehicles, the architects, and the instruments for constructing a world at peace; that this Chapel will give them the tranquility and consolation needed to develop the gifts that have been given to them,” Matano said.

The exterior of the Chapel will reflect the gothic architectural style of Kearney Hall and will be constructed using the signature Fisher brick.  It will also feature a spire. The interior of the Chapel will be able to accommodate 250 guests in the nave, and will include a narthex, sacristy, vestry, and reconciliation room. The nave will boast 12 colored-glass 11-foot windows, to be designed by famed artist Valerie O’Hara.  Additionally, the sanctuary platform will feature an altar, ambo, Eucharistic tabernacle, and choir area with grand piano. Large windows behind the altar will provide a view of the expansive Kearney lawn.

The Chapel is expected to open in spring 2017.