<< Back

Of the major religious organizations on campus in the early 20th century the YMCA and the Student Volunteer Movement had disappeared before the Second World War, while the YWCA lingered on another decade or two before fading from view. In their place were the denominational clubs and programs sponsored by various local churches, especially Gobin Memorial Methodist Church, in a time when Methodism still remained the largest single religious preference among DePauw students.

The Rev. John Tennant, pastor of Gobin in the 1940s, was especially active in organizing and supporting the work of the Methodist Student Movement and assigned an assistant, Barbara Daniels, as official adviser of the group. Among her successors as advisers or directors of the MSM, known later as the Methodist Student Federation and finally as the Christian Action Movement, were Patricia B. Kyle (1950-1954), Kermit B. Morrison (1954-1958), John Dorr (1958-59), Jack T. Hanford (1959-60), Samuel Kirk (1961-66), and Donald E. Bossart (1967-70). In 1967 the Indiana Methodist conferences financed the construction of a modernistic aluminum-and-glass building in the rear of Gobin Church to serve as the University Christian Center. Later reverting to the use of the church and its congregation, it has been renamed Wesley Hall.

In the meantime Orville L. Davis, a former Methodist missionary in India who had been a member of DePauw's department of religious education since 1946, was named director of church relations in 1952 with the additional responsibility of coordinating religious activities on campus through the interdenominational Council on Religious Life. Finally, in 1962, after a brief hiatus following the death of Davis, President Russell Humbert appointed Elmer E. Carricker to the newly created post of university chaplain. Carricker, a DePauw alumnus who had served as a military chaplain during the war, carried on the somewhat vaguely defined duties of that office until 1967, when he resigned to accept the vice presidency of Baker University.

The next year President William Kerstetter named to the vacated chaplaincy Marvin E. Swanson, who had graduated from Simpson College during Kerstetter's presidency there and earned an S.T.B. and Ph.D. from Boston University. One of Swanson's tasks was to define the chaplain's role on campus, especially in relationship to the director of the Methodist Christian Action Movement. A continuing responsibility was the organization of the university's weekly chapel services and such programs as the annual Mendenhall Lectureship.



In 1971, however, Swanson accepted the additional post of director of international studies. By 1973 it was clear that one person could not perform the duties of both offices simultaneously, and the state conferences of the United Methodist Church were approached with a request for assistance in funding a full-time chaplain at the university. The result was the appointment of William Fred Lamar as university chaplain in 1974. Under Lamar, a graduate of the University of Alabama with a B.D. from Eden Theological Seminary and Ph.D. from St. Louis University, the chaplaincy took on both an interdenominational and a Methodist character. Headquarters was established at first in the Methodist conference-financed University Christian Center. Later its activities were transferred to Locust Manor and then to the present location in O'Hair House.

Through the Chaplain's Living Unit Council, the social service program was particularly expanded, with student work projects initiated in the community, nation, and many parts of the Third World. Under Chaplain Lamar's direction the popular Winter Term in Mission program has taken approximately 1450 students on 61 different projects, providing health services and constructing church buildings and other facilities in various sites in Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, and the Philippines during the past decade. Since 1977 a series of assistant chaplains has been appointed to help carry on the increased functions of the office, including Mary Stubbs, James B. Lemler, Bruce R. Coriell, Terence Jones, and Kevin B. Armstrong. Currently the chaplain's staff also includes a chaplain intern and two retired professors from the philosophy and religion department on a part-time basis. Providing continuity to the office since 1958 has been its efficient secretary, Frances O'Neal.

Back to Top

<< Back

Depauw University e-history | E-mail comments to: archives@depauw.edu


People, Events  & Traditions

Recollections of War

Women Teachers of English

Percy L. Julian

Student Hangouts

The History Quartet

Speech Teachers

Religious Life

Hiram L. Jome

Little 500 and Other Traditions

Two Distinguished