Funding to Support Ongoing Restoration Effort of University Memorial Chapel
(BALTIMORE – May 1, 2020) – Morgan State University (MSU) announces the receipt of a $500,000 grant award from the National Park Service (NPS) to advance the federal agency’s commitment to the preservation of historic structures on campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The grant awarded to Morgan will underwrite complete restoration of the original windows of the University Memorial Chapel.
“We are thankful to receive this grant from the National Park Service. The resources provided will be instrumental in preserving our National Treasure status as we utilize it to restore our University Memorial Chapel, a symbol of spiritual guidance and a safe place for reflection at Morgan,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “Morgan has been long-committed to preserving its iconic buildings and spaces and receiving this aid will support the efforts of students and staff to ensure that University Memorial Chapel will be a source of inspiration for future generations.”
Designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan is among the storied institutions whose rich tradition and cultural legacy can be visibly seen through a number of its campus’ historic buildings. HBCUs have long provided a meaningful backdrop to the culturally significant journey of Black education. It’s estimated that nearly 50 percent of all HBCU buildings are in need of repair, and grants such as this provide an invaluable resource in the preservation of the HBCU campus heritage.
“These grants help us to honor the legacy of HBCUs in serving our nation’s higher education needs,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela, exercising the authority of the Director. “Funding awarded this year will help preserve 18 historic properties on HBCU campuses in 12 states, many of which are listed in the National Register.”
The University Memorial Chapel restoration has been a collaborative effort bringing together the University’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), the Facilities, Design and Construction Management department and others to preserve the structure’s most iconic character-defining feature – its windows. The restoration effort will preserve the original construction as designed by nationally renowned African American Architect Albert Irvin Cassell, FAIA.
In addition to the National Park Service grant, the capital project to restore the Chapel’s windows is supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Phase I of the project began in the Summer of 2019 through the Touching History program which enlisted the craftsmanship of Morgan SA+P students who restored four of the Chapel’s windows.
“Morgan State is very pleased to be awarded the National Park Service HBCU Preservation Grant as it will enable the University to complete restoration of the original windows at the chapel,” said Dale Glenwood Green, Professor from Morgan’s School of Architecture and Planning. “The restoration effort has truly been a collaborative undertaking and with these additional funds in-hand, we will look forward to procuring a restoration contractor to finalize the complete window restoration of our Memorial Chapel.”
Projects funded by these grants support the physical preservation of National Register listed sites on HBCU campuses to include historic districts, buildings, sites, structures, and objects. Eligible costs include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation
Since the 1990s, the National Park Service has awarded more than $60 million in grants to over 80 of the remaining active HBCUs.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 126 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.