by Elizabeth Hambuchen
As the Christian Center has reached its 65th birthday this year, a plan has is in place to completely renovate the interior of the building. Rev. Christopher Ross Donald, Millsaps College Chaplain, stated, “The Christian Center clearly needs to be updated. Dr. Pearigen set a goal when he became president of building a chapel that would be a signature space on campus.”
“The plan is for a ‘to-the-studs’ renovation,” Donald said, “That would totally transform the interior spaces of the Christian Center.” This renovation would include several projects such as faculty office suites, a large lecture hall, and break out spaces for the new Heritage program, a new chapel along with spaces for student religious groups to meet, as well as the reopening of the light and air wells. However, these plans are subject to change and a timeline has not yet been set.
The updating of the Christian Center will benefit Millsaps, its campus, and the departments currently housed in the building significantly. Donald believes that, “In a very real way the Christian Center will be a physical representation of the unique commitment of Millsaps, that living a good and worthy life means growth in intellect and spirit, regardless of what that spiritual expression may be.”
Donald says that the updating of the Christian Center will enable “The intellectual discipline and perspective that is taught in Heritage and the spiritual growth and community that are nurtured by our student religious life groups will be together in one place.”
The building was built in 1950 as a memorial to all students and alumni that died in World War II. Since then, it has taken on several different roles. The Christian Center is currently home to the Fitzhugh Memorial Chapel, a large auditorium, and several departments such as the theater, religious studies, history, classical studies and philosophy departments.