War Memorial Chapel is one of the most prominent landmarks on Virginia Tech’s campus. As such, there is a wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from its history. Many answers to questions about the Chapel can be found in the About Virginia Tech section of the main Virginia Tech website.
For more information on War Memorial Chapel contact us:
225 Squires Student Center (0138)
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
It was originally dedicated as “A Shrine to Fortify Education with Worship and Inspiration” on May 29, 1960. After it underwent renovations, it was rededicated on September 8, 2001.
Various religious services of different faiths and denominations are held in the facility.
The Chapel accommodates events such as weddings, baptisms, religious services, prayer vigils, memorial services, remembrance events, military commissioning & promotion ceremonies, departmental commencement ceremonies, initiation rites for fraternities and sororities, holiday programs, concerts, and recitals. More information about event opportunities can be found on our Other Events page.
There is not a five-year waiting list to get married at the Chapel. As with other facilities that host weddings, the prime dates and times – between April and August – are the first to be reserved. A wedding can be booked as soon as three months before your wedding, depending on space and staff availability. However, you are more likely to get ideal dates and times if you book your wedding at least six months to one year in advance.
Memorial Court grows out of the Chapel with eight massive pylons, reaching upward, representing stability and aspiration. They carry the names of our war dead and on each is a sculptured figure. The four left pylons were designed by Henry Kreis, and the four right pylons designed by Charles Rudy. Between the last two pylons is a cenotaph - a monument engraved with the names of our fallen Medal of Honor Alumni. Carved in the top step of the Court are these words, "THAT I MAY SERVE," a translation of Virginia Tech’s Latin motto, "UT Prosim".
The titles of the sculpted figures (Pylons) are as follows:
- UT PROSIM:
Alma Mater advising her son,
“Forge your life on the precepts I try to teach, which are:
Let no wall separate you from your fellow men
It is your obligation to know what you ought to do and to do it
Personal integrity is a shield to protect you from dishonor
Be faithful and true to God, nation, state, community, school, and home
With brotherhood, duty, honor and loyalty, you may be qualified to say, ‘Follow me’
But I warn you that leadership requires courageous service, in times of peace and of war
And that service requires sacrifice, even unto life itself.”
The sculptures were designed by American sculptor Donald DeLue. The center sculpture, “Man As Created By God,” depicts the right hand of the Lord placing man on Earth, symbolizing man's relationship to his Creator, implying that something greater than man himself is responsible for his presence on Earth. The left sculpture is called “Man Seeks God Through Work” and depicts a male figure standing next to a plow dropping grain out of his hand. The sculpture on the right, “Man Seeks God Through Prayer,” shows a kneeling male figure with a bowed head beside a sheaf of wheat, suggesting man in communion with his Creator
The flags on the walls inside the Chapel are the Flags of the Corps of Cadets and the Flags of our Medal of Honor Alumni. More detailed descriptions of these items can be found inside the Chapel.
- The symbolism of the inside of the Chapel: The black color of the floor represents sorrow; the red pew covers represent sacrifice, and the oak woodwork represents strength.
- People of all faiths and denominations have access to the facility, supporting diversity and freedom of religious expression.
- The facility can support a wide variety of programs, services, and events.
- Staff members are, generally, onsite to answer questions, to make reservations for the facility, and to assist with certain events.
- Its location at the center of campus, as well as the distinctiveness of the pylon structures on its rooftop, makes it easy to find.
- The Chapel’s very existence is to serve as a memorial to honor alumni who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service for our nation; and, additionally, to “inspire the living”.