The UNM Alumni Memorial chapel holds a special place in the hearts of UNM alumni around the world. Some have celebrated their weddings at the chapel; others have experienced it when remembering a loved one lost in battle. But for everyone touched by the chapel over the last 50 years, it remains an enduring and iconic symbol of the University.
On Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, the UNM Alumni Association and Alumni Relations Office will celebrate the golden anniversary of the Alumni Memorial Chapel. The event's theme, "Celebrate and Remember," reflects the chapel founders' intent for a place for reflection, memorial services and weddings on UNM's Main Campus.
"The idea of a chapel was formed in the mid-1940s with a desire to remember alumni who died in World War I and World War II, but it took a number of years to raise enough money to build it," said Karen Abraham, executive director of the UNM Alumni Association. "Since 1962, it has been used to mark happy and sad occasions. It is one of UNM's architectural jewels and a cornerstone of campus life. It is probably the most beloved building on campus other than Hodgin Hall."
UNM built the Alumni Memorial Chapel in the early 1960s, following the plans of renowned architect John Gaw Meem. Every year, about 200 weddings take place in the nondenominational chapel, as well as memorial services, ROTC graduation, the Hanging of the Greens to mark the beginning of the holiday season, and the carillon bells, which chime on the hour and play tunes at noon and 5 p.m.
The 50th anniversary celebration will include the following events:
• Saturday, April 28, 7 p.m. - A remembrance service and flag ceremony for UNM alumni who have died while in military service to the United States.
• Sunday, April 29, 1 p.m. - An account of the chapel's history, a mass renewal of marriage vows by those who were married in the chapel, and musical performances. A reception in the newly renovated Hodgin Hall—UNM's original building on the main campus and the home for alumni—will follow. Campus tours also will be offered.
From April 23-27, individuals who were married in the Alumni Memorial Chapel may renew their wedding vows privately in the chapel. To schedule vow renewals, call Kara Evans at (505) 277-5808.
Those who wish to attend should RSVP online at Alumni Memorial Chapel's 50th Anniversary Celebration and click on "Registration information." The Alumni Relations Office encourages couples who were married in the chapel to send their wedding photos, as well as any other photos they would like to share, for the celebration. Photos must be copyright-free and couples should sign a photo release form. The release form and submission information is also available via the same link. Click on "Send Us Your Photos."
Nancy Doolittle, granddaughter of former UNM President James F. Zimmerman (1927-1944), has established a $10,000 matching gift to fund many needed renovations for the historical building. Individuals and organizations may take advantage of this giving opportunity by visiting the UNM Alumni Relations Office website or by calling (505) 277-5808.
For more information contact Sue MacEachen in the UNM Alumni Relations Office at (505) 277-9088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Michelle McRuiz (505) 277-5808; email: email@example.com.