Memorial Chapel Campaign
The Assembly Hall
Cadets and their families come to Missouri Military Academy with high expectations for the facilities, technology and amenities available at a private boarding school. Our campus plan has addressed this expectation with the construction and enhancement of our academic and administrative facilities. We will soon upgrade our athletic facilities and playing fields, however, there is a present need to provide improved programs and space for cadet entertainment and large group lectures. The Assembly Hall presents an opportunity to create such a space.
Cadets from the latter half of the 20th century remember the Assembly Hall as the site of JROTC classes, exam days and movie nights. As this current photo illustrates, the facility is currently in need of renovation. Our current plan is to update this area with new flooring, paint and wall treatments, rollout windows and HVAC upgrades. Beyond that, the space will be enhanced to create a space outfitted with commercial quality seating, sound and lighting to allow the Academy to host movie nights and guest speaker events.
Memorial Chapel Renovation
Work began in 2014 with the stripping away of old paint and finish. Original craftsmanship and beautiful woodwork began to shine through. A year of hard work resulted in a transformation from a dated appearance to a warmer, traditional atmosphere. Updated paint, gilding, wood refinishing and new flooring have brought the Memorial Chapel back to its original glory. Additional touches have enhanced the space to reflect its original purpose and mundane structural and environmental details have also been addressed to enhance the worship experience. Landscaping and paint give the exterior a fresh look.
A $5,000 kick-off gift from the MMA Alumni Association toward the renovation of the 55 year-old Memorial Chapel & Assembly Hall has now grown to a total of nearly $144,478 in gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and foundations! This represents a third of $350,000 overall funding goal for the project as gifts and commitments continue to be made every week. A special $100,000 gift challenge by the Alumni Association to encourage all alumni to support the effort has garnered $22,200 of the total gifts and pledges received. Under the leadership of Jeff Kays ’84, Alumni Association Board President, class agents are working with members of their classes and decades to reconnect and engage in commitments to fund naming opportunities in the updated facility. The MMA “Centennial Class” of 1989, led by Chris Schafer, and the Class of ’71, led by Greg Temple, each has launched special challenge efforts within the larger alumni challenge campaign.
Work in the Memorial Chapel continued this past school year to add special gilded eagle wall bases and sets of flags representing MMA and each branch of the U. S. military, and an eternal memorial flame has also been included in the altar area. Gifts of all amounts are still encouraged toward the overall Memorial Chapel renovation fund, and naming gifts are still available for small and large Chapel pews and three remaining flag sets.
Excitement is building toward the completion of the Assembly Hall renovation. The old space has been completely gutted and the old paint, ceiling tiles, windows and air-conditioning units and wood and steel desk chairs have been removed. The rejuvenated Assembly Hall will become a fully-functioning movie theater, complete with padded seating for 140 cadets and guests funded by the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation, digital projection and sound funded in part by the Miriam Arnold Edmonston Foundation, central room controls, and new paint, windows and ceiling upgrades. MMA’s goal is to have work on the Assembly Hall completed and ready for cadet use in the fall of 2016.
Special thanks are due to the William T. Kemper Foundation and Commerce Bancshares Foundation, who combined to make a $50,000 grant in support of the Assembly Hall project. Contact Kevin M. Quinn, Director of Development, for more information on making gifts and available naming components.
We Shall Always Remember
As World War II raged on in faraway lands, the cadets enrolled in the relatively safe enclave of Missouri Military Academy felt the waves of war lapping at their feet. The news of brothers killed in action inspired the MMA community to build a memorial to these young men who would never come home. This would be a place of tranquility and reflection, a symbol of peace and reverence in the midst of a world in chaos.
So began the first Memorial Chapel campaign, as members of each graduating class raised funds to build a chapel remembering those who gave their lives so that “The American Way of Life Might Survive.” In 1961, their dreams and efforts were realized as the Academy dedicated the Chapel to “classmates of mine and of yours who marched from this campus to war and gave the last full measure of devotion to their country.”
In 2014, during the Academy’s 125th anniversary year, MMA began a renovation of the Memorial Chapel when half a century of use began to take a toll on the structure. The goal was not only to revive the space, but to enhance it, and to build upon the legacy begun by MMA brothers more than 60 years before. The Academy has set a goal of $300,000 in gift support to underwrite the cost of renovating this critical component of our 360˚ Education.
The Society of St. George
The Missouri Military Academy Memorial Chapel and Assembly Hall facility was dedicated in 1961 in honor and memory of MMA cadets who gave their lives in combat against tyranny – they “marched from this campus to war and gave the last full measure of devotion to their country.” In years to follow, the facility has also served in memory of first responders who lost their lives in dedicated service to save others.
The Missouri Military Academy Society of St. George is dedicated to the perpetuation and support of the programs, services and facilities of the Memorial Chapel and Assembly Hall that honors these young men. Inaugurated in 2016 as part of a $350,000 fundraising campaign to renovate the facility, The Society of St. George recognizes loyal MMA alumni, friends of the academy, community groups and corporations and foundations who provide gift support at $2,500 or more toward enhancing chapel and assembly hall programs and facilities. Funds donated beyond the total cost to renovate the facilities will be directed toward ongoing program development and facilities beautification and maintenance for the future. New members will be publically recognized with an appropriate inscription in the facility.
St. George, known best for the legend of the dragon slaying, is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints and one of the most revered saints in all of Christianity. George was a soldier in the Roman army, the son of a prominent army official of the day and mother who were both devout Christians. George was an exceptional soldier, rising to the rank of Centurion in command of 100 soldiers in the Guard of Emperor Diocletian. George had espoused his parents’ Christian faith and, upon an edict by Diocletian that all Roman soldiers should renounce Christianity and offer sacrifices to the Roman gods, refused to recant his beliefs. Diocletian sentenced George to severe torture and death for failure to renounce the Christian God, and surrender to pagan practices of sacrifice to Rome. George, who loudly-proclaimed his faith in God while heading to the executioner’s axe, was beheaded in approximately AD 303.
In his canonization of George into sainthood in AD 491, Pope Gelasius I considered George among those “whose names are justly referenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” St. George is venerated throughout the Christian world and among many Middle Eastern Muslims, from Egypt to Asia Minor. Patronages honoring St. George have been established world-wide. He is the patron saint of England, where the Georgian Cross is the basis for the national flag. Patronages are also established in Malta and Gozo, Portugal, Lebanon, Russia, Georgia and Bulgaria.
It is an honor and privilege to induct Missouri Military Academy alumni and friends into The Society of St. George for steadfast support of the memory of our fallen heroes.
Memorial Chapel/Assembly Hall Campaign Component Cost Structure
As of October, 2015
Phase I: Chapel Interior
$ 32,000 | Interior Painting
$ 23,000 | Interior Flooring
$ 18,000 | Flags and Eagle Bases
$ 15,000 | Improved Lighting
$ 15,000 | Environmental Improvements
$ 9,000 |Carved MMA Seal
$ 5,000 | Full-Length Pew (@ 35)
$ 2,500 | Small Pew (@ 22)
$ 1,000 | Memorial Eternal Flame
Phase II: Chapel Exterior
$ 13,000 | Exterior Painting
$ 5,000 | Landscaping
$ 5,000 | Window Treatments
$ 27,000 | Structural Improvements/Labor
Phase III: Assembly Hall
$ 35,000 | Sound and Projection
$ 20,000 | Theater Lighting
$ 20,000 | Entrance Awning
$ 15,000 | Updated Flooring
$ 15,000 | Acoustical Ceiling
$ 5,000 | Window Treatment
$ 1,000 | Blackout Curtains
$ 6,000 | Site Preparation
Please consider a generous gift to MMA in support of this “Extraordinary Cause!”