Y-Chapel of Song (UCO Campus)
Designed by Conner & Pojezny
UCO Campus, Edmond
Conner & Pojezny designed several buildings on the UCO campus in the late 40’s and early 50’s, with the Y Chapel of Song being the second one to be completed (the now-demolished Industrial Arts building was the first). The simple-but-modern church was designed to showcase the dramatic stained glass windows that were created by returning WWII vets who were attending the university on the GI Bill.
There are two sets of four vertical stained glass windows, one on each side of the chapel. On one side, the four windows depict the various races and cultures of the pioneers who fought and struggled to settle the wild Oklahoma land. On the other wall are four reliefs of women throughout religious history.
The Y-Chapel of Song and its stunning windows were featured in the June 25, 1949 edition of The Oklahoman, and the architects’ design went on to win the award for Outstanding Building/Religious from the OK AIA in 1953. This small chapel was the first Conner & Pojezny design to be added to the National Register (in 2001).
The chapel’s stained glass windows were featured in the December 2014 issue of Slice magazine with this additional information:
“Benjamin Beames, a Choctaw athlete who played football for Central in 1942, was the model for the eight-foot tall Indian window inspired by John Exenham’s song ‘In Christ There Is No East or West.’ The work includes images representing the Latino, Native American, Asian and Eskimo cultures. Ray Gilliland, of Delaware Indian descent, created and executed the design.
The ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ window was inspired by the gospel spiritual and dedicated on Lincoln’s birthday 1946 in honor of Prof. Virginia Howard, who retired that year after 30 years on the faculty. The model commemorated Howard’s nanny, a woman recorded only as ‘Katie.'”
For a the entire fascinating history of this building, go here.