Ralph V. Wilhelm Chapter Room
Wilhelm Chapter Room
Old Dining Room
The oak-paneled Wilhelm Chapter Room, located in the southeast corner of the house, is a sanctum, the place where chapter meetings, rush votes, and all manner of ceremonies take place. It affords a view of the woods and the Gorge by day; by night, it is lit with the mellow glow of the antique bronze Geoghegan lanterns, and by the Lamp of Lambda Chi Alpha that rests on the chapter altar.
In 2015, the Chapter Room was named in honor of Ralph Wilhelm '67. Bro. Wilhelm has been one of our most engaged and high-profile alumni in strategizing the future of Greek life, serving two terms on the Grand High Zeta, Lambda Chi Alpha's international board of directors, and now as chair of the Cornell University Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Committee (FSAC). He has volunteered countless hours in support of the alumni association and the active chapter, and has also been a tremendous financial supporter of the chapter, both within and beyond the campaign.
The room began life as the chapter refectory, built in 1916 along with the kitchen. Situated directly below the dining room, the kitchen was connected by a narrow staircase and dumbwaiter accessed through a door on the west wall of the room. Dick Geoghegan '31 O-243, while Steward, used a surplus in his budget to acquire the six bronze electric lanterns that light the room to this day.
The cumbersome kitchen setup could not endure the larger brotherhood and busier lifestyle of the postwar years, and in the 1956 expansion, the staircase and dumbwaiter were removed and the dining room moved to the lower level. The Chapter Room continued as a meeting and ceremonial room, as well as a study lounge, and by the 1980s, a television lounge as well.
In the 2014–15 renovation, the Chapter Room was largely preserved, though its timber frames and paneling were refurbished, and the Geoghegan lanterns refinished. The western wall was replaced with three sets of French doors providing access to the adjacent Ashley Reading Room in the new wing, and a plaque naming the room for Bro. Wilhelm was placed for the Edgemoor Grand Opening in the autumn of 2015.