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Hendricks Chapel Receives Prestigious Award for Weekly Dean’s Convocations
Hendricks Chapel has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Spiritual Initiatives Award from NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, an association of student affairs professionals in higher education.
The Outstanding Spiritual Initiative Award is given annually to recognize a program that promotes spiritual and religious growth on a college campus. The program or initiative chosen demonstrates a significant impact on a college campus by promoting spiritual and religious engagement among the student body.
Hendricks Chapel was chosen for its weekly Dean’s Convocations, which were introduced in August and take place every Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in the chapel. The NASPA selection committee viewed the convocations as an innovative model of broad impact.
The convocations are intended to be a weekly gathering place for all people that feature a diversity of religious, spiritual and philosophical perspectives. Each convocation features congregational singing, led by University Organist Anne Laver; at least one choral anthem featuring the Hendricks Chapel Choir, led by Director Peppie Calvar; and a guest artist. The convocation’s artistic elements are combined with a reading and reflection based on the week’s theme, delivered by Hendricks Dean Brian Konkol or an invited guest.
This spring semester, the convocation themes surround matters of unity, diversity, service and adversity, which provides participants with an opportunity to reflect alongside a diverse gathering. “The Dean’s Convocation creates a home-like community for everyone to feel welcome in,” says Hendricks Chapel Choir member Gabrielle Meadows. “These Sunday nights have tied knots tightly between people, and have opened another door for students to learn.”
The convocations grew out of a thorough review of the chapel and its programs, which took place from 2015-17 during the term of Interim Dean Samuel Clemence.
Konkol says this convocation model is something that has not yet been done at other institutions around the country. “The weekly gatherings are so distinctive, because ultimately, the Syracuse University community is so wonderfully unique. Each week is a team effort that involves a wonderful collection of contributors, so to be recognized by NASPA is a credit to the students, faculty, staff, administrators and area community members that impact its relevance and vitality.”
During this semester, Konkol, Calvar, Laver and student leaders will continue to seek out religious, spiritual and artistic collaborations that will further enhance the experience for students and other members of the Syracuse University community. In addition, they expect to add free community dinners in the near future, to take place before the convocation, to offer additional time for conversation and fellowship.
NASPA was established in 1918 and is composed of more than 15,000 members at more than 2,100 institutions in all 50 states, 25 countries and eight U.S. territories.