Memorial Services

Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) supports the Cornell community in times of grief.  Sage Chapel and Anabel Taylor Hall Chapel (the multifaith center) have often been the venues for memorial services for Cornell students, faculty, staff administrators, emeriti and former employees.  Other locations in Anabel Taylor, such as the One World Room, and buildings on campus with a particular resonance for the deceased or chosen by the family of the deceased can serve as locations for memorials.  CURW supports and assists Cornellians and family members in planning memorial services and will provide guidance and referral to appropriate University and community resources when necessary to the bereaved.  Only memorial services, as opposed to funerals, are scheduled in Sage Chapel and Anabel Taylor Hall.


Sage Chapel and Anabel Taylor Hall Chapel are available for memorial services for:

  • Current students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees
  • Faculty, staff, administrators and trustees who retired from Cornell
  • Alumni/ae
  • Children of current faculty, staff, administrators or trustees who retired from Cornell

Exceptions to eligibility requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Discussion between the Director/clergy and the organizers—family, friends, colleagues, students, faculty, staff, administrators—must occur ahead of time in person (when possible), telephone, email or other electronic means to address the order of service, including music, musicians, speakers, readings, printing of programs and the like.  In the case of current students, CURW will facilitate the design and printing of programs for the service but will defer to family discretion on this matter.


Typically, the Director of CURW serves as the officiant for memorial services, working in conjunction with the family and/or colleagues, fellow students, faculty or administrators of the deceased person's college or office.  CURW chaplains or local clergy may also serve in this capacity upon request.  In rare instances, upon special request, laypersons may officiate memorial services.  Such requests should be made by contacting CURW Program Assistant, Janelle Hanson, via email or phone (607) 255-6002.

Musicians and Music

Musicians for the memorial service must be cleared through the University Organist, Professor Annette Richards, or her designee.  This is especially applicable for organ play, as there are organists (if applicable to one's service) officially approved to play on the instruments in both Chapels.  Discussion of music requests should then be discussed between the organizers of the service, the musician and the officiant to ensure coordination.  In some instances, the organizers may prefer recorded music.  Such arrangements should be discussed with the Director, Associate Director and/or Program Assistant of CURW.

Other musicians may be included in your memorial service but must be paid for (if applicable) by the family of the deceased.  Instruments in contact with the floor must have a protective barrier to prevent damage and scratches.  Wind instruments must be placed on paper or cloth.  This guideline is applicable to both chapels.

Photo and Video Service

If desired, photo and video services are to be arranged and paid for by the family of the deceased.  CURW can make referrals to families regarding local photographers and videographers.


Fees are applicable only to persons and groups unaffiliated with Cornell.  Please contact the Director of CURW for further information.

Additional Policy and Guidelines