President James P. Clements

“We thank Ken and Mary Cadden for celebrating Sam's life in a way that will touch the hearts and lift the spirits of generations of future Clemson students.”
- President James P. Clements

Ken and Mary Cadden
Ken and Mary Cadden

Located near the heart of campus, Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will be a quiet place for meditation, reflection and celebration for the Clemson University community. The Samuel J. Cadden Chapel and its accompanying memorial gardens will create a warm, inviting space for people of any belief, or of no belief, to feel welcome and accepted.

The unique character of Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will be realized through strong vertical lines with majestic windows, allowing for transparency and light. Using elegantly detailed, high-quality materials, Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will add a radiant presence to Clemson’s beautiful campus. The chapel will be a special place for students to express beliefs, search within themselves or to have a safe place to go when they seek reflection. The accompanying gardens will provide a serene natural area for anyone who prefers to reflect in the midst of nature.

In June 2016, Ken and Mary Cadden of Richmond, Virginia, made an initial $1.5 million pledge to build this beautiful chapel as a tribute to their beloved son and as a gift to the people of Clemson University. The Board of Trustees gave initial approval to move forward with the chapel’s design in February 2018, and a few months later, Samuel J. Cadden Chapel was approved for construction through the appropriate agencies within the state of South Carolina.

The Cadden family was joined by members of the Board of Trustees, President James P. Clements, other university administrators and pillar donors on May 23, 2019, as ground was officially broken on the facility that will bear their son’s name forever.

Project History

June 2016
Ken and Mary Cadden announce the lead gift of $1.5 million to build a chapel in their son’s name on the Clemson University campus.

May 2019
Ground was broken on the facility in the space between the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and Strom Thurmond Institute.

May 2020
Concrete walls for the garden level were completed.