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The Chapel was built in 1895 as a rectangular stone structure and tower, and modified with a north transept in 1904 and south transept in 1917, which replaced the tower. A lich gate was added in 1903. The Chapel, Taylor Hall, and Saint Agnes are among buildings that were constructed in the 1800s and still in use today. These three buildings were symbolic of the need for a religious school functioning on the Oakwood campus of historic Raleigh. Its natural growth will continue in keeping with the mission of St. Augustine's College. These buildings represent the beginnings of the College's educational culture.
A memorial site honoring the Freedman's Commission has been added to the Chapel courtyard, with an engraved marker at the site. Worship Service, vespers, forums and Lenten activities as well as historical programs (i.e. the Mordechai Community Park of Raleigh, which was celebrated when Mordechai turned 100 years old), take place in the chapel.
The chapel is known for its unique architecture, which blends Medieval, Gothic, and Romanesque styles. George Washington Haynes and other stone masons working in the late 1800s were especially talented and gifted at their craft. They were working in the campus trade school during the Booker T. Washington/W.E.B. Dubois controversy about the industrial arts and liberal arts curriculum. Although both programs of study were taught at Saint Augustine's, it was believed that the liberal arts program would be the more suitable curriculum for teaching in post-civil war institutions. It was also felt that the liberal arts curriculum would help provide an image of the missionary enterprise of the national church and should be continued by the Freedman's Commission.
Saint Augustine's College, located in the City of Raleigh, NC, was established by the Freeman's Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1867, only two years after the close of the American Civil War. The history of this school tells an interesting story of how the institution was put together and how the special mission of Saint Augustine's started out as a responsibility of the Church. (Or it may be assumed that both the school and church came together to identify needs in educating the newly freed slaves.) St. Augustine's was originally a missionary effort of the national church. As the college evolved from a normal to a collegiate school, it developed into a trade school. Like many historically black colleges, vocational school was a way to prepare minority students for a life under segregation, but due in part to growing ties between the church and the college, the curriculum has shifted from an emphasis on industrial education and pre-theological training to its current focus on scholarship, research, and community service.
Saint Augustine's pursues excellence by developing: 1) flexible and innovative courses of study that integrate theory and practice through experiential approaches to learning; 2) opportunities for students to apply what they learn through service learning, internships, and cooperative education; 3) purposeful and individualized programs of study for nontraditional students, through preparation for a career change or re-entry into the work force; and 4) knowledge and appreciation of cultural differences through interdisciplinary courses, study abroad, and other programs.