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Sage Chapel

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Sage Chapel is the University non-denominational chapel designed for worship.

Cornell United Religious Work (CURW)
office: Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, N.Y., 14853
phone: (607) 255-4214
fax: (607) 255-7793

Janelle Hanson, Facilities Coordinator
Memorial Service and Wedding reservations
office: 120 Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, N.Y., 14853
phone: (607) 255-6002

Reverend Kenneth Clarke, Director, CURW
office: 122 Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, N.Y., 14853
phone: (607) 255-6002
122 Anabel Taylor Hall

Building Emergencies: (607) 255-5322 (24 hour - utilities maintenance)
Services of worship are held in Sage Chapel every Sunday at 11:00 AM when the University is in session. The Sage Chapel Choir accompanies the services. Sage Chapel is also home of the Cornell University Glee Club, the oldest student organization at Cornell, and it's sister group, the Cornell University Women's Chorus.

Cornell University Glee Club: (607) 255-3396,
Cornell University Women's Chorus:
Sage Chapel Choir: (607) 255-7016
University Organist: (607) 255-7102

There is a fee of $600 to rent Sage Chapel for Weddings.
Reservations are made on the website
Cornell connection is required and includes:
Student or Alumni (having earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from Cornell University), Faculty, Staff or Trustee, or Children of Alumni, Faculty, Staff or Trustee
For more wedding information, contact the CURW Facilities Coordinator.

The Memorial Antechapel:
Added in 1883, the antechapel was designed by Charles Babcock and serves as a crypt for the remains of Ezra Cornell and his wife, Mrs. Mary Ann Wood Cornell; John McGraw; Mrs. Jennie McGraw and her husband Willard Fiske; Andrew Dickson White (Cornell's first president) and his first wife, Mrs. Mary Outwater White; Alonzo Cornell, eldest son of the founder and sometime governor of New York, and his first wife, Mrs. Elen Agusta Cornell; two infant children of Andrew Dickson White and his wife, Helen Magill White; Edmund Ezra Day (fifth president of Cornell) and his wife, Emily Emerson Day.

Sage Chapel was further renovated in:
1898 - chapel enlarged, and the Sage Memorial Apse added (where Mr. and Mrs. Sage are buried).
1904 - chapel decorated, and enlarged for organ and choir room.
1940 - enlarged for organ and choir loft, basement excavated.

Sage Chapel was opened on June 13, 1875 at an original cost of $30,000. It was designed by Charles Babcock, the first professor of architecture at Cornell. The building was a gift of Henry Williams Sage, and the current interior a gift of his son, William H. Sage.

Sage chapel was given by Henry Sage after his wife saw the plans for Sage College for Women at Cornell in 1873 (currently Sage Hall). Upon seeing the plans for a chapel in the building, she remarked to her husband that a great University such as Cornell should have more provision for worship. The first President of Cornell, A. D. White upheld the principle of "unsectarian education", a principle which at the time drew fire onto Cornell for being a "Godless institution."* Never the less, A. D. White and Ezra Cornell "would not discard the idea of worship." Cornell was prohibited was and is "prohibited from favoring one religion," and therefore ministers from different denominations of faith speak at Sage Chapel every Sunday.

*In his inaugural address, A. D. White stated that, "We will labor to make this a Christian institution, a sectarian institution may it never be." The chapel was to be non-sectarian and open to all faiths. His address explains the Christian decor of the chapel today.

Art Work in Sage:
Figurines in the half-circle behind the rail are representations of Literature, Music, Science, and Young Womanhood and Manhood. Work on the ceiling represents Religion.