Ceremony Marks Opening of Hermance Family Chapel

October 10, 2017

On Saturday, Oct. 7, more than 200 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members celebrated the opening of St. John Fisher College’s new Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

President Gerard J. Rooney and members of the College community celebrated the opening of the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great with a ribbon-cutting.

The dedication ceremony, held during Alumni Weekend, offered an opportunity for the campus community to formally recognize members of the Hermance Family, the Chapel’s principal benefactors.  The Foundation’s gift was granted in 2016 by Kris Brown Hermance, in honor of her late husband, Ronald E. Hermance, Jr. ’69.

Hermance, who passed away in 2014, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fisher. He was actively involved with the College for many years, including a tenure on the Board of Trustees from 2009 until his death.

In his remarks, Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College, noted that a pamphlet from 1947 outlining the Basilian Father’s plans for Fisher called for the main axis of campus to be set on the highest ground with a chapel “dominating the campus court.” That history, President Rooney said, resonated with Ron Hermance.

“Ron recognized the value of the Chapel and saw its potential, a result of the important role that Ron’s religion and faith played in his life and his family’s life,” said Rooney. “We are most grateful to the Hermance Family Foundation for affirming Ron’s shared vision for this Chapel, and enabling us to fulfill our Founders’ vision.”

Fr. Kevin Mannara, C.S.B., director of Campus Ministry at St. John Fisher College, offers remarks during a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

Fr. Kevin Mannara, C.S.B., director of Campus Ministry at St. John Fisher College, offers remarks during a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

Members of the Hermance family were also present at the ceremony.

“[My father’s] life embodied the spirit of goodness, and St. John Fisher contributed to this characteristic. In his mind, St. John Fisher and his classmates were an extension of his family,” said Chris Hermance, Ron’s son. “As such, my family is delighted that we could be a part of this institution that has always meant so much to him and to us. My family trusts that this beautiful Chapel will serve as a conduit for my father’s integrity, and will serve as a sanctuary for generations of the St. John Fisher College community.”

Fr. Kevin Mannara C.S.B., director of campus ministry, said that the Chapel will serve as a house of communal worship and place of private prayer and reflection. Since opening in mid-September, Campus Ministry has hosted several events and masses, including a candlelight vigil to commemorate the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11, which drew dozens of students, faculty, staff, and community members.

C.J. Wild ’20, a sophomore majoring in religious studies who is an active member of Campus Ministry, echoed Mannara’s thoughts.

“It has become evident that this Chapel is a special place. It fosters a sense of unity and community among the students,” Wild said.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members gathered to officially dedicate the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members gathered to officially dedicate the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.