Monday, March 25, 2024, By Dara Harper

A historic gift to Hendricks Chapel, the largest since its dedication in 1930, will launch a $3 million Challenge Campaign to enrich student life and learning through the spiritual heart of Syracuse University.

As a home for all faiths and place for all people, Hendricks Chapel hosts nine chaplaincies, more than 25 student-led religious and spiritual life groups, and sponsors over 2,000 programs for more than 600,000 annual attendees. Hendricks Chapel employs student workers; supports musical ensembles; offers support through the Student Opportunity Fund, Student Veteran Support Fund and the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry; and also partners throughout the campus community to advance academic excellence at a university welcoming to all.

The recent anonymous gift will be used to support various chapel programs and initiatives, to prepare engaged citizens, scholars and leaders for participation in a changing global society.

Through the connection of family members who attended Syracuse University, two of whom were married at Hendricks Chapel, the donors are inspired by the chapel’s mission and want to support its efforts through an unrestricted gift that inspires others to give. “I like the idea of universities having an opportunity to be brought together in a spiritual and religious setting,” says a member of the family. “The focused effort required to learn a field of endeavor during your college years needs to be balanced with a constant reminder that each field’s ultimate purpose is to advance goodness in the world.”

The gift will launch the $3 million Hendricks Chapel Challenge Gift Campaign. The donors have already committed to $1 million. If Syracuse University alumni, parents, friends and other supporters can raise an additional $1 million by June 30, the family will give another $1 million, for a total of $3 million in support of Hendricks Chapel. All donations to any Hendricks Chapel funds by June 30, 2024, will count toward the Hendricks Chapel Challenge Gift Campaign. “For Hendricks Chapel to be on the receiving end of such remarkable generosity is an honor and a joy,” said Reverend Brian Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “This gift will help us to impact more students, which help our students to impact our world.”

The initial $1 million gift has already made a significant impact:

  • “We are very blessed to be receiving funds from Hendricks Chapel this year. Some of these funds are being used to bring an ASL [American Sign Language] interpreter to our 12:10 p.m. Mass on Wednesday afternoons,” says Father Gerry Waterman, Catholic chaplain.
  • “It is hard to put into words the enormous impact that Hendricks Chapel’s support has on the Syracuse Hillel community. We are so grateful for our partnership with the chapel. In addition to thought partnership, strategic support and the benefits of a community of practice, grants from the chapel have enabled Hillel to inspire students as they embrace Shabbat and holiday traditions here on campus,” says Jillian Juni, executive director of Syracuse Hillel.
  • “Hendricks Chapel has supported our many service trips. Through these trips, students have engaged in compassion-oriented service work, providing food and water filtration, and replacing roofs after the destruction of Hurricane Maria. Over 70 students have benefited from our trips to Puerto Rico, New York City and Nepal over the years,” says Rev. Devon Bartholomew, nondenominational Christian protestant chaplain.
  • “Thanks to Hendricks Chapel I was able to study abroad, which has drastically shaped my Syracuse experience, allowing me to learn more about myself and the world around us,” says Leondra Tyler, student coordinator for the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry.
  • “Funding from Hendricks Chapel helps the Hendricks Chapel Choir stay connected to the campus community, and to the artistic community around our state, our nation, and our world,” says José “Peppie” Calvar, DMA, director of the Hendricks Chapel Choir.
  • “Funding from Hendricks Chapel enables our group to expand its programming, makes it easier to accommodate religious observances like Ramadan Iftars, and gives our students additional opportunities to gather and connect in meaningful and creative ways without the burden of financial constraints. It was pivotal in building our community, sense of belonging, and student connections, which have increased enrollment, participation and engagement,” says Imam Amir Durić, Muslim chaplain.

For more information or to support the Hendricks Chapel Challenge Gift Campaign before June 30, 2024, please visit or contact Jeff Comanici at or 315.420.9330.

Find more about Hendricks Chapel’s events and programming at

About Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University

Orange isn’t just our color. It’s our promise to leave the world better than we found it. Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University is poised to do just that. Fueled by more than 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can enhance academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. Forever Orange endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support, inspire 125,000 individual donors to participate in the campaign, and actively engage one in five alumni in the life of the University. Now is the time to show the world what Orange can do. Visit to learn more.