On April 19th, 2023 Gurrimatute had the honor to participate in the groundbreaking of the Trish and Dan Bell Chapel at Florida International University’s (FIU) Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The ceremony was held at the project site which is adjacent to the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House and south of the campus’s largest lake. Speaking at the event were FIU’s President, Kenneth A. Jessell and Senior Vice President, Howard Lipman; philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell; four religious community leaders; and representatives from the architectural and construction companies responsible for the chapel’s design including Daphne I. Gurri and Moss Construction.
“It’s not often that an architect has the chance of a lifetime to design a building as important as a chapel,” states Principal/Owner, Daphne I. Gurri. “This building and gardens will serve as a beacon of hope and peace for generations to come. That is an awesome responsibility and honor for me.”
In addition to Ms. Gurri, representatives from Gurrimatute in attendance included Principal-in-Charge – Jose G. Matute, Project Architect – Ariel Valdes, and Designer/Intern Architect – Rosanna Rodriguez. Furthermore, Eva and Ignacio Matute (children of Jose and Daphne) were able to join our team for this major project milestone.
The Chapel will have the capacity and function to service all religious and/or spiritual faiths and practices. Having a place of solace, contemplation and respite on campus will provide students and faculty with a much-needed outlet for the excess pressures of student life... and will foster the cultivation of better, more grounded, and empathetic future societal leaders. Attendees to the event can feel honored in recognizing, promoting, gathering, and participating in the inception of a spiritually significant step forward in the education of our student body, in the pursuit of communal unity and tolerance.
Construction of the Chapel is made possible through the lead commitment of philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell, as well as other notable FIU donors. Since their initial $5 million lead gift announced at the FIU Next Horizon campaign kickoff celebration on January 26, 2019, they have made subsequent gifts, bringing their total support to $14 million for the chapel.
“Dan and I have always believed that a strong spiritual foundation, regardless of one’s faith and religion, is a critical ingredient in building a well-rounded and balanced life,” said Trish Bell. “Consequently, when we discovered that there was no FIU chapel, we were sincerely thrilled to have this opportunity to play a significant role in helping to bring such a vibrant element to the life of this outstanding university.”
“Trish and I hope that this chapel will quickly become a place where people of similar as well as vastly different religious traditions and beliefs can gather to celebrate and contemplate their faiths and meaningfully connect with others,” added Dan Bell.
*Portions of this article reference an article written by Elizabeth Ferrer-Alfonso on FIU.com