The construction of the new chapel has been made possible through the generosity of Mr. Richard and Mrs. Nancy Zimmerman, who have been actively involved in supporting the work of United for more than 30 years. For 20 years, Mr. Zimmerman was a member of United’s Board of Trustees, acting as Chair of the Board for eight of those years.
Mr. Zimmerman served as CEO of The Hershey Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for many years. When he passed away in 2014, Mr. Zimmerman left a legacy of worship through a generous bequest to provide a permanent chapel at United. Mrs. Zimmerman has devoted additional funds to the project to ensure that the worship space will be best suited to the needs of the seminary, both now and in the future.
Construction began in April 2016 and will be completed prior to the October 11 dedication. The former United Bookstore and part of Thie Fellowship Hall were remodeled to accommodate the worship space, which will be used for United’s twice weekly chapel services, spiritual formation groups, and preaching classes. The chapel is also available for funeral and wedding services.
Designed by ALT Architecture, with construction oversight by DRK Construction Services LLC, the space features a cross made by local woodworker Brian Stull of Stull Woodworks Inc. using wood from United’s campus. Stained glass windows designed and created by local artist Sam Grillmeier of Renaissance Glass Studio will frame the front of the worship space. The chapel has seating capacity for over 200.
United invites the local community to attend the dedication worship service at 2 p.m. on October 11. The service will be Livestreamed and archived here for those who are unable to attend in person.
Also on October 11, United will open its doors to those interested in learning more about the seminary and its masters, doctoral and continuing education programs. The Explore United Open House will begin at 8:30 a.m., with activities — including the dedication of the Zimmerman Chapel — taking place throughout the day. Guests may participate in Open House activities as their schedules allow. All events are free of charge.
United Theological Seminary is the fourth largest of the thirteen United Methodist theological schools in the United States. It was founded in 1871 by Milton Wright, a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and father of Wilbur, Orville and Katharine Wright. United offers accredited, innovative graduate and non-degree education programs for both clergy and laity.
Now in its 146th year, United is serving 397 students this fall, including students from 40 different denominations and 12 different countries. United has an annual budget of approximately $7 million and has 49 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees.