Graduating student leaves legacy in stained glass

Monday, May 19, 2014 6:15:00 PM

Nate Friday Chapel

Nate Friday, B.A. degree graduate in secondary education and social studies and the student speaker at Stritch’s May 18 commencement ceremony, has left quite a legacy as an engaged and involved student, but perhaps his most lasting imprint can be found in stained glass.

Hanging above the doors to the University's St. Francis of Assisi Chapel is a prominent “sunrise/sunset” stained glass window that he created, titled "Go Light Your World." 

“I had led a stained glass project during a retreat,” he said. “When Father Jim Gannon (University priest and associate director of campus ministry) asked me to create a window for the chapel, I assumed it would be a small item inside of the room. I am so honored to have been entrusted with this very visible project.”

Friday learned how to create stained glass in high school, and said he was touched that Father Jim gave him this opportunity after only seeing smaller works that he had done.

With Father Jim's support,he worked on the window over the summer months in 2011. The University will install a plaque recognizing his contribution to the chapel and in commemoration of his graduation. 

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel opened that year within space located in the southern wing of the second floor promenade/hallway of Bonaventure Hall, which is the University’s main administration building. An appropriately sized, centrally located chapel had long been deemed as a need for the University.

In May 1962, when Stritch was moved from the city of St. Francis to its current Glendale/Fox Point main campus, the chapel was located in the basement of Serra Hall. That space was considered to be a temporary location, but it was not until 2011 that the chapel moved to a permanent and prominent home, thanks to the leadership of then-student Audrey Edwards, '13, and and the generosity of benefactors Anita and Al Costigan, Eileen and Daniel Meehan, Robert L. and Dr. Joanne A. Anderson, Lisa and Souheil Badran, Thomas and Lynne VanHimbergen, and Suzanne M. Felan. 

Seeing the window now, nearly three years later, remains a thrill for Friday and his parents, Bob and Rhonda.

“It is still exciting, every time I walk into the chapel," Nate said. "It doesn't get old. At Stritch, no student is just a number. We are all given opportunities to make lasting contributions here.”

During Friday’s four years at Stritch, he successfully completed majors in secondary education and social studies, as well as a minor in religious studies. In addition to balancing his demanding academic course load, Friday has been a starting pitcher for the Wolves baseball team, led several University Ministry retreats, served on the Student Athletic Advisory Council, and participated in the Franciscan Pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy. 

After graduation, Friday will begin his career as director of lifelong formation for St. Matthias Catholic Church in Milwaukee. In this position, which directs formation for all age groups, Friday will develop curricula, coordinate classes, and provide professional development for catechists.

“I've been blessed to be able to pursue my interests at Stritch,” said Friday. “Because of the support I received here, I will be able to incorporate education and ministry into my daily work.”