Dominican Chapel Plan Fuels Revolt by Alums

February 18, 2007

Author: Jennifer Upshaw

Source: Marin Independent Journal

A group of angry Dominican alumni are lobbying university officials to build a commemorative Catholic chapel on campus as initially promised.

University officials last month announced plans to pursue a scaled-down, multifaith version of a chapel envisioned several years ago. The chapel is part of a master plan approved a decade ago to include a recreation center, residence halls, a science center and athletic fields.

The abrupt change in the chapel plan ignited a firestorm of protest, with some donors so furious they want their money back.

"There's been a change in direction without the knowledge or consent of those who donated," said Novato resident Patty Schaber, a Dominican alumna. University president Joseph Fink "has alienated the alumni, which is not a smart thing to do."

Designed by Peter Pfau of San Francisco-based Pfau Architecture, costs associated with the 8,500-square-foot chapel were estimated at $9.3 million, complicating fund-raising efforts and making the cost "prohibitive," university officials said.

New plans involve a smaller $3 million effort. A location has not yet been announced. To date, $3.3 million has been raised.

See also: Interfaith, Campus