Trustees Name New Chapel in Honor of President Gregg A. Mast
September 1, 2014
The New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed to dedicate the new Seminary campus Chapel in honor of the Reverend Dr. Gregg A. Mast, current President of NBTS. Dr. Mast has held this position since 2006.
The Trustees, in a vote that took place on April 25, 2014, cited Dr. Mast’s leadership, deep desire to further the mission of New Brunswick Theological Seminary and his unwavering commitment to bring this project to completion as factors that led to the decision.
“This is not to say that others haven’t contributed to this effort – the Seminary has certainly been blessed with gifted and dedicated individuals who have generously given their time and talents to bring this building project to fruition,” stated Mary Linge, NBTS Trustee and Board Affairs Committee Chair. “The naming of Mast Chapel is an acknowledgment that the end result would not have been possible without Dr. Mast’s diligence and leadership.”
Sandra Fisher, Moderator of the NBTS Board of Trustees, added, “While it may be somewhat unique to name this significant and most visible structure in honor of someone still serving as President, the Board feels the extraordinary commitment that Dr. Mast has displayed warrants this rare action.”
Under Dr. Mast’s leadership, the decision was made to move the historic Seminary from atop “Holy Hill” on Seminary Place to College Avenue, the bustling main artery of Rutgers University’s New Brunswick Campus. It is an active expression of the Seminary’s engagement with its urban environment, diverse community and global ministry.
“I was surprised, humbled and honored with the remarkable action of the Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Mast. “I am deeply grateful for all who have shared in our journey toward a new beginning for this historic community of faith and learning.”
The newly named Mast Chapel and surrounding construction are part of a $300 million redevelopment project between the Seminary, Rutgers University and the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO). The Chapel is a focal point of the new campus, which will include a 30,000 square foot central building, classrooms, offices, conference facilities and space for commuting students.
Michael Farewell, FAIA (Fellow, American Institute of Architects) and Partner, Farewell Architects, led the design effort for the new Chapel and campus, and continues to lead the project through the construction. Mast Chapel and the historic Gardner A. Sage Library – the last remaining 19th Century building on the Seminary property – are the two primary symbols of the new campus. Mast Chapel is located on the corner of the new “L-shaped” Seminary building, and works with Sage Library to create a courtyard for students, faculty and staff to enjoy.
While the interior of Mast Chapel is intimate (it seats 150 people), its hexagonal shape and strategically placed windows and skylights create transparency with the landscape and courtyard beyond. Its geometric elements and understated simplicity reflect Protestant architectural influences. The Chapel is not overly opulent to keep focus on the Word and worship.
Farewell describes Mast Chapel as the “emotional heart” of the new campus, and credits Dr. Mast with successfully balancing the rich history of the Seminary with its newly envisioned future. “It is rare that you have someone that has the intellectual sophistication to deal with tradition while displaying the leadership abilities to inspire people to collectively move toward a major goal like a new Seminary campus,” explained Farewell. “As an architect, having a client like that is very rewarding and inspiring.”
The New Brunswick Theological Seminary campus is scheduled to be completed this summer, with classes in the new building starting in the fall. The new Seminary Chapel and campus building are part of the $8 million NBTS Building A New Future Comprehensive Campaign. To date, the Seminary has raised more than $4.2 million toward its goal. For more information on the comprehensive campaign and how you can contribute, contact Cathy Proctor, Director of Development, at (732) 247-5241 x134.