In November’s Hamilton Headlines, we received 44 affirmative responses to the question: Have you attended a lecture, given a speech, received a Class & Charter Day award, attended a wedding, or participated in any other memorable event in the Chapel?

In addition, almost all those who answered included comments, many of which are found below. We randomly selected five to receive a prize for participating. Congratulations to Lindsey Byrnes ’09, Dennis Walsh ’76, Philip Toohey ’65, Anne Marcoline ’98, and Andrew Stone ’92.

question markHave you attended a lecture, given a speech, received a Class & Charter Day award, attended a wedding, or participated in any other memorable event in the Chapel?


My husband, W. David Ashby ’77, and I were married in the Chapel by College Chaplain Joel Tibbetts. In May 2022, we will celebrate our 45th anniversary. — Marylee Stull Ashby K’76

I produced and directed a French play that was performed in the Chapel to complete my senior thesis as a French major. It was a great experience, and of course I remember it well as it was the culmination of my studies in my selected major and also was connected to the wonderful experience of participating in the Hamilton College JYA Program in Paris. It also demonstrated what a fine education I had received in French language and literature. I was able to interpret a complex piece of French drama and bring it to life. The performance went very well, and we received thunderous applause. The Chapel continues to be a fond memory of my Hamilton experience. — Alicia Aurichio ’79

One evening in the Chapel more or less close to election day in 1956, I took up the challenge thrown out by Dick Flanagan ’59 to the student body for anyone to debate in favor of President Eisenhower against Dick’s debate in favor of Adlai Stevenson. Peter O’Hara ’57 (bless him) was the moderator. If this entry happens to win the prize, Dick Flanagan deserves it more than I do. For me it was exciting and fun. I think it also was for Dick and Peter. — James Bromley ’57

I was selected by my classmates to give the [half-century] class analyst’s letter at our 50th reunion. — Neal Brown ’58

Multiple events in the Chapel of significance and the top two are my wedding and the baptizing of our first child. They would also include watching my child perform as a member of the Hamiltones. — Tom Brush ’90, P’20

My husband and I were married in the Chapel in 2014. It was the perfect place for us to start our life together! — Lindsey Byrnes ’09

It is where I married my best friend in front of most of my friends and family. — Victor D’Adamio ’88

There we sat on Class & Charter Day in the Chapel applauding our peers, and unexpectedly from our thesis advisor, Eugene Domack of the Geology Department, my two fellow expedition members and I received an award with unusual pomp and circumstance. I remember listening to the accomplishments of my peers and hearing the remarkable criteria required for them to earn their awards, and then Professor Domack ceremoniously presented an unusual award “enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled” from the U.S. Department of Defense for “Courage. Sacrifice. Devotion.” Prior to thinking about that moment for this post, I had not thought much about the award and had considered our five-week expedition to Palmer Station and the surrounding ocean aboard the R/V Polar Duke a phenomenal research opportunity and adventure, but not one filled with courage, sacrifice, and devotion as 20-year-old Hamilton students. With 30 years of hindsight, I now realize the iceberg that opened a hole in one buoyancy compartment of our icebreaker’s hull and the snapped winch cable hauling up thousands of pounds of equipment from the ocean floor (it knocked off my hardhat, grazed my forehead, and left a superficial 1" cut as it recoiled!) were among other memorable “close-calls” we had encountered along the Antarctic Peninsula. For our contributions to scientific exploration, we received the Antarctica Service Award Medal of the United States of America: “Civilian participants who deploy to an Antarctic research station or vessel and remain south of 60 degrees South latitude via the U.S. Antarctic Program are eligible to receive an Antarctica Service Medal and Certificate from the National Science Foundation.” (https://www.usap.gov/travelanddeployment/510/) — Andrew Stone ’92

You don’t ask about religious services! They were a very important part of my experience as a Kirkland/Hamilton student. I actually remember dancing (yikes) as part of an Easter Vigil service in the Chapel when the late Rev. Joel Tibbetts was chaplain. After all, it WAS the ’70s. — Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans K’76

I looked forward to Christmas mass in the Chapel with Fr. Croghan every year! Hearing the College Choir sing and seeing the Christmas decorations all around was a great way to celebrate with friends before heading home for the holidays. — Niamh Fitzpatrick ’20

The Monday Chapel meetings of the late ’60s when attendance was mandatory for all students. Always raucous and entertaining. — Paul Flynn ’72

My husband, John Forbes ’97, and I got married in the Chapel back in 2003. The Chapel was a wonderful space for our special ceremony. The size and structure allowed us to feel the warmth and goodwill of all in attendance. Not to mention that our wedding occurred on a very hot day in August! In fact, we could hear rumbles of thunder in the background during the service, which made for a very dramatic setting. There was a downpour during our receiving line, but the sun broke through and the clouds cleared in time for our outdoor reception in the Village of Clinton. — Allison Forbes, Coordinator of Advancement Events

I took pipe organ lessons for the four years that I was at Hamilton. Some of my most special memories on campus were those quiet times in the evenings when I would spend hours in the Chapel practicing. I loved the sound of passing students outside on the quad while I played Bach, Buxtehude, and Purcell in that hidden away perch where the organ lives, all to myself. — Heather Frechette ’06

I was presented an award at Class & Charter Day in 1987 for a paper I wrote. I observed a criminal trial in court in Utica, and my paper was about pro se litigants. The award was the Dean Alfange Essay Prize. Although I was planning to attend law school, little did I know that one day I would be assisting self-represented litigants with their cases in the Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts. Now I am returning to private practice and focusing my practice on the same population through limited assistance representation, where I will provide services that can be described as a la carte. — Lori Landers-Carvalho ’87

I received the James Soper Merrill prize in 1984. I remember sitting in the Chapel for Class & Charter Day, and, when upon hearing my name, thinking that I must have been dreaming — to be chosen by the faculty as a person who best exemplified the highest ideals of the College was an honor and an extremely humbling experience. Every time I put on the watch, which is the actual prize, I take a breath and am brought back to that day ... and I smile. Carissima. — Randi Lowitt Gnesin ’84

The Chapel holds so many memories for me and my family. Folk festivals in the ’60s/’70s, candlelight Christmas services, lectures (Nikki Giovanni, George Lincoln Rockwell to name two extremes), alumni meetings, the Baldwin Reunion Choir .... I was married there in 1973, and the memorial services for both my mother and father were held in the Chapel, with the pews filled nearly to overflowing. On the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, I sat in the Chapel in silent meditation, alone. — Jennifer Potter Hayes K’73

My husband [Tom Helmuth ’09] and I got married in the Chapel. It felt so fitting to celebrate our union at the campus where we met, became friends, and, eventually, fell in love. It was also deeply meaningful to us to get to share Hamilton with our family and friends! — Fiona MacQuarrie Helmuth ’09

I attended Melissa Joyce Rosen’s ’86 wedding in the Chapel. Throughout our years at Hamilton, it was a very special place for her. It was so fun to be part of her special day in a very special place! — Kristen Peterson Hislop ’86

My freshman year CSI [COOP Service Internship] Program meetings took place on the third floor of the Chapel. In a crazy year of COVID restrictions, CSI gave me a unique opportunity to connect with other members of my class who are passionate about service. The Chapel served as a warm and welcoming home for these meetings. — Mary Hurner ’24

Linus Pauling’s lecture (put a dove’s foot flag on the weathervane while he spoke), Morefe Obele’s funeral, Rocky Rockwell’s funeral. — William Burgess Leavenworth ’65

I was an usher at the wedding of two classmates, Dave and Julie Bloss Clarke K’75. It was the day after graduation in 1975 and hot as blazes. The reception was at ELS. — Peter Lotto ’75

I attended many events at the Chapel, both as a student and alumna. One of the most memorable is a holiday concert performed by Hamilton’s a cappella groups, probably in December 1997. It was a cozy, magical event with friends gathered on a cold Hamilton winter night. — Anne Marcoline ’98

Singing the full Messiah and Brahm’s Requiem with the Rochester Orchestra and H/K Choir was extremely wonderful as well as helping to lead worship in the Chapel under Chaplain Joel Tibbetts (RIP). I also remember President Sam Babbitt in Pirates of Penzance, which was performed in the Chapel! — Barbara Nixon K’76

I gave a speech on behalf of the greek life community for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly renovated meeting area in the basement of Bristol Center. This was special to me because I was able to meet, and personally thank, all of the alumni who made the renovations possible and the space available for greek life students to meet. This experience particularly resonated with me because of all the stories of fond memories the alumni shared regarding their time at Hamilton. Furthermore, I cherish the time and effort the Alumni Office took to prepare me for this short speech. I was able to refine the effective communications skills I garnered while studying at Hamilton. I look forward to being part of this tight-knit community for years to come! — Conor Powers ’17

A classical music concert in which my close friend played violin — Tzipora Jaffe Reitman ’76

Buffers concerts! Always a good time, and once or twice made me blush. — Jennifer Sandorf ’92

Through my time at Hamilton in the mid 1980s, my participation in Chapel performances of the Hamilton Brass Choir as a trombonist stand out as valuable memories. Over 50 years before that, in 1932, my great-grandfather Bradford W. Sherwood gave the half-century class annalist talk there on behalf of his Class of 1882. Then there was my brother Rick ’79, who came home from College with the story of “the incident.” Rick attended a Chapel event on a particularly warm day. The Chapel doors were kept open for the cool breeze, and Rick’s dog Butch sauntered gregariously down the aisle searching for his owner amid the packed crowd! A more poignant connection: my brother Ralph ’80 was a music major. After his unexpected and tragic death in 1997, our family looked for meaningful ways to remember him. I reached out to Professor Sam Pellman, who dove into the Hamilton music archives for traces of Ralph’s performances. He came up with recordings of a dozen pieces that Ralph performed in piano recitals at the Chapel, which Sam generously shared with us. One might understand why I get choked up at the sound of Carissima in the Chapel over Reunion Weekend. — David Stone ’88

Community Messiah sings way back in the ’70s. — Dory Streett K’76

Late winter 71-2, I think, Return to Forever played the Chapel, and their drummer, Lenny White, had about the heaviest bass foot ever. The band’s roadie was absolutely insistent that he was going to nail the drum and pedal to the beautiful black walnut flooring of the pulpit area, and we, the squad of students deputized to assist the band, were equally resolute that he might make the attempt, but he was unlikely to survive it — we weren’t having any. Eventually somebody suggested the stage weights from the fly apparatus in Minor Theater. Surely a couple of those wrapped in a towel would hold the drum and pedal against an elephant. So one was brought over, and Steve Flores ’74 walked up to the roadie and held it out in one hand — a magnificent deception, as it was 101 pounds. The chap, taking it for 25 or 30 pounds, scoffed, took it in one hand himself, and promptly dropped it on his foot. The drum kit actually did move in the course of the show, about 3/8 of an inch. But the walnut, which had already survived famine, war, and pestilence, remained unscarred. (Not so sure about the foot.) — John Swinney ’73

I was not only in a wedding in the Chapel, I was the groom! My wife, Jane, and I were married in the Chapel on Jan. 21, 1978, in the middle of one of the greatest blizzards to hit the northeastern U.S. in almost 100 years. Some four-and-a-half feet of snow fell between Friday and Sunday of that weekend. Of course, we scheduled our wedding for the middle of that blizzard. It didn’t seem from six months previously that it would be such a bad time. Usually, that time of January is when the traditional January thaw hits. Well, we only missed by two days. From a guest list of 85 people, a total of 37 finally signed the guest book. That included the wedding party. Our photographer’s Volkswagen was buried by a snow plow in New Jersey. One of our ushers had a level 4’ of snow side-to-side in his driveway in Connecticut, and another never made it out of his driveway, either. We enlisted a guest, Pat Zaiden ’73, to take photographs. We were married by Father John Finnegan, SJ, who had been Newman chaplain during my years at Hamilton. He was at the time a parish priest in the south side of Syracuse, N.Y. Somehow, wedding party and priest made it Clinton for a very memorable wedding. — Tommy Thompson ’73

I received two awards at Class & Charter Day. I was a member of Psi U and the Coupers (Richard Couper ’44 was Hamilton’s VP) lived next to the fraternity. After Chapel, Mrs. Couper came up to me and said “Congratulations, Philip. I didn’t know there were any scholars at Psi U.” — Philip Toohey ’65

We got married in the Chapel on June 12, 1970, one of the first Hamilton-Kirkland confederations (Ellie Spencer K’72 + Bob Tupper ’69). Sam Babbitt and John Wesley Chandler were honored and welcome guests. The Chapel was the inevitable location — it was on the Chapel steps, the second morning of 1969 spring houseparties, that we first recognized that “spark.” Both the Hamilton and Tupper sparks are still glowing. — Eleanor Spencer Tupper K’72

Early 1960s: The Don Cossack Chorus came to sing at the Chapel; 30 or so Russians in riding boots, jodhpurs, red military tunics; rumbling basses, stratospheric countertenors; the very floor seemed to vibrate; the audience (including John Baldwin) ate it up. Such music! — Alex Vaughn ’62

Brass Choir under Dr. Bonta. Lots of time in the attic! — Peter Verrill ’69

It was a concert featuring the late Steve Goodman and Loudon Wainwright III. I saw them in the Chapel in 1974 or 1975, with my roommate, the late Steve Friedman ’76. Steve Goodman’s songwriting skill and wit blew me away. And after the concert, Steve Friedman and I ran into the two performers wandering the campus, looking for munchies. We directed them to the Emerson Literary Society (ELS), where they opened their kitchen for snacks every night. They called it “11 o’clocks.” I don’t know if they ever found their way there. Steve Goodman died in 1984 of leukemia, but I have enjoyed his music ever since that Chapel concert. — Dennis Walsh ’76

I married my best friend and college sweetheart in the Chapel surrounded by our classmates, friends, and family. — Jessica Sexton Walsh ’03

I have attended five weddings in the Chapel, but the most special one was, of course, my own to Cathy Fahey K’78. Most of the guests were H/K alumni. —Ed Watkins ’74


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