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History of Kanley


Kanley Memorial Chapel, an inter-faith Chapel, is located on Michigan Avenue, at the heart of Western Michigan University's West Campus. The facility, built in 1953, was made possible through a gift of the William Kanley Estate and is a symbol of the long-standing interest that the University has in the complete education of its students.

The architecture is distinctive. Many whom see it consider the design “modern”, but it is actually in the oldest tradition. The building is patterned after the old basilicas. The over-all shape of the building is that of a cross. Next to the Chapel is a rectangular clock tower, which is illuminated at night.

The Chapel is decorated with student-designed artwork, which has been executed in sandblasted and stained glass windows. The designs on the windows on each side of the Chapel represent some phase in the development of religion. The "Hymn of Praise," the nation's only such student-created ensemble of stained glass windows, is above the narthex in the Chapel. The world-famous Willet Studios executed the student artwork in glass. The Upper Chapel also features a large Kilgan Pipe Organ, which was refurbished in 1994.

The lower level of the chapel building houses the Dialogue Center used by students for study, refreshments, and conversation; there are also the Social Room, kitchen, and offices for the Building Coordinator and several campus ministers.