The Wynne Chapel tower is the majestic focal point of the Austin College campus. Completed in 1958 as a gift from Toddie Lee Wynne, Sr., the chapel has served as a reminder and sustainer of the religious heritage of Austin College. Mr. Wynne, long-time chairman of the Board of Trustees, was a well-known Texas oilman and civic leader from Dallas, Texas. An active Presbyterian layman, he had a strong commitment to the support of church causes and programs throughout the nation.
The building is 13,208 square feet and seats 600 people in the main sanctuary plus an additional 120 in the balcony. It serves as the hub of campus religious life. There are choir rooms, offices, a conference room and a small prayer room in the building. A major addition to the chapel came in 1967, when the Carillon, with 24 bronze bells imported from the Netherlands, was constructed in the bell tower. Dr. Richard Tappa played a special concert on the bells for their dedication on October 20, 1967. The Aeolian-Skinner organ was also a gift of the Wynne family and was installed in 1963. Today, the building houses the offices of the campus chaplain.
Renovation on Wynne Chapel began in the summer of 2019 and consists of an interior redesign, updated projection and lighting systems, and facilities renovation. This new sanctuary will become a modern, functional worship center for the entire campus community, honoring the visionary leadership of Clifford Grum in the life of Austin College.
Additional renovations include updates to what is known on campus as “the small chapel,” a multi-use room located at the southwest corner of the building, which will be renovated and named in honor of Sallie Majors, following a gift from Bob and Joyce Johnson of McLean, Virginia, in honor of his aunt.
The chapel renovation is a project of the Austin College Faith & Engagement initiative, a $5 million effort to endow the Religious Life program, fully endow the chaplain position, and fund renovations to the entire Wynne Chapel facility.
- Replace main floor pews with movable individual seats
- Replace old carpet and tile with wood flooring
- Update the appearance of the Chancel, windows, paint, and restrooms
- Install a laser projector and large retractable screen for computer presentations and videos
- Update lighting and sound systems
- Repair/repaint some outside trim
- Well underway, to complete by the middle of January, 2020.