"All students are required to attend prayers in the Chapel, in the morning, before the instructions of the day commence; and in the evening, at the close. They are also required to attend a Bible Recitation on the Sabbath." From the 1832 annual catalog, these requirements in one way or another would be a part of Centre College for almost 150 years. Led by members of the faculty, who were often Presbyterian ministers, chapel also included orations by students.
By 1850 chapel services were only held in the morning before classes. The 1885-86 annual catalog includes the following: "Devotional exercises, consisting of prayers, hymns, and Scripture readings, are conducted in the chapel four times a week, and all students are required to attend." In 1929 the number was reduced to three times a week. In 1950 chapel attendance was still required, but had been further reduced to once a week and held in conjunction with convocation. On Tuesdays a clergyman was brought to campus for chapel and on Thursday a lecturer for convocation. These speakers were selected by a student-faculty committee. The nature of chapel had changed from a devotional exercise to more of a lecture.
As a result of recommendations made during the 1964-65 year by the Student Government, the Committee on Religious Life, and various members of the faculty, an Ad Hoc Committee on Chapel Attendance made the following resolution, which was adopted for the 1965-66 year: "That for the year 1965-66 the chapel hour (fourth hour onThursday) will be an hour set aside for worship by the entire College community; that all offices stop work during the period and that the Library and Sutcliffe Hall snack bar be closed; that faculty members refrain from holding committee meetings or student conferences during this hour; and that attendance at the chapel service be on a voluntary basis." With this, required chapel ended at Centre.
Throughout the nineteenth-century chapel, where all students assembled once a day, often served as the scene for admonitions, announcements, and public punishments. In 1876 the faculty voted that "The President announce publicly in the Chapel that any student who shall bring liquor, cards or deadly weapons on the College grounds, shall be forthwith expelled from College." In 1871 the faculty requested that Prof. Beatty announce in chapel the suspension of three students for "high misdemeanors." Required chapel, held first thing every morning, provided students with ample opportunities for pranks, mischief, and disobedience. In 1870 the faculty held a conference with regard to the "outrageous, ungentlemanly, irreverential, and highly insulting conduct in Chapel during prayer; it was agreed and decided upon that some method or plan or way be [found] to stop such abominabilities, whereupon Prof. Beatty was most cautiously requested by the Faculty to denounce such behavior in Chapel." In 1877 three students were brought before the faculty on the charge "of bringing turkeys into the college building and introducing two of them into the chapel Tuesday morning as the religious exercises were about to commence, thereby producing quite disorder."