FIU breaks ground for the Trish and Dan Bell Chapel

Originally published on April 19, 2023 on

Written by Elizabeth Ferrer-Alonso

Construction has begun for the Trish and Dan Bell Chapel, a nondenominational gathering place for worship, contemplation, spiritual strengthening, and mutual understanding on FIU’s main campus. The Bell Chapel will be located on the lake adjacent to the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House. 

The architecturally striking chapel designed by architectural firm Gurrimatute will be a 17,000-square-foot facility, featuring a sanctuary that can seat 250 people, two reflection/prayer rooms, multipurpose event space, and multifaith counseling rooms. In addition to spiritually oriented activities, it will be available for rental for religious life-stage milestones, weddings, and other ceremonial events.

“FIU embraces a multidimensional experience for our students,” said FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell. “The Trish and Dan Bell Chapel will be the pivotal place on campus that enhances the spiritual component of the student experience.”

Construction of the chapel is made possible through the lead commitment of philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell, as well as other notable FIU donors. Fellows of the FIU Foundation Board of Directors, the Bells are among South Florida’s most engaged benefactors. For more than 30 years, they have supported the community through leadership and philanthropy, focusing on providing opportunities for underserved individuals, and championing generous backing of educational initiatives and the arts. 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.

With over 16 active faith-based groups and student clubs at FIU, the chapel will provide a shared place for discovery and understanding that will facilitate their work. Several other spaces will enable group meetings and smaller-scale events to take place simultaneously within the chapel. The facility will have offices for multifaith leaders to meet with and counsel individuals from the university community.

Videos and photos for media use will be available through Dropbox. This folder will be updated with groundbreaking event images.