The Chapel

1957 - Present

In the spring of 1950, the South Dakota P.E.O. held its annual state chapter convention. This was where Joseph W. Messer first proposed that the BILs (P.E.O. husbands) build a chapel on Cottey campus.2 There had previously been a chapel in Main Hall, where the students had participated in Sunday school, vespers, et cetera, but it was quite old and small. In 1951, Cottey's Board of Trustees reviewed Mr. Messer's suggestion and established a Chapel Advisory Committee, which included Messer and Cottey President Blanche Dow. In every state with a BIL chapter, one member was selected as a Chapel Chairman to help raise the estimated $250,000. The BILs were successful and the new Cottey Chapel was dedicated in the spring of 1957. The inscription on the front of the building, "In All Thy Ways Acknowledge Him," is said to be a description of Mr. Messer's life work.

Today the Chapel stands between Reeves Hall and Robertson Hall, and is used for spiritual activities and traditions, including Hanging of the Greens and Commencement.


Cottey Chapel, c. 1960
Chapel, c. 1960.2
Chapel, c. 1961
Chapel, c. 1962.
Cottey Chapel, 1965
Students and faculty during Commencement, 1965.1
Chapel bunker, 1964
The Chapel basement was used as barracks during the P.E.O. convention of 1964.1
Commencement, 1968
Graduates and faculty exit the Chapel after Baccalaureate, 1968.3
Cottey Chapel, 1973
Chapel winter scene, 1973.4

The Cottey Chorus sings Christmas hymns in the Chapel, c. 1976.5
Cottey Chapel and Reeves Hall, c. 1976
Reeves Hall and the Chapel, c. 1976.6
Side of the Chapel, 2005
View from the west, 2005.

Works Cited:

  1. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1965. Print.
  2. Stockard, Orpha. Cottey College: The First 75 Years. Joplin, MO: Joplin Printing Co., 1961. Print.
  3. Berry, Dorothy. "Commencement." The P.E.O. Record. Aug. 1968: 2. Print.
  4. Day, Forster. Image. The P.E.O. Record. Jan. 1974: Cover. Print.
  5. "Christmas at Cottey." The P.E.O. Record. Dec. 1976: 12-14. Print.
  6. "Cottey-P.E.O. Partnership ... Story of Campus Expansion." The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1976: 2-5. Print.
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