Blanket memorial

While blue flags with silver stars line Rockefeller Memorial Chapel's narthex and red poinsettias decorate the chancel, the chapel's east transept holds a colorful yet somber display this December: six sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

One panel pays tribute to a South Carolina radio DJ and some of his favorite '80s movies and albums: Top Gun, The Cars Greatest Hits. An Andy Warhol-inspired piece features 18 identical images of AIDS victim Rollie James Kennedy III. Others include Bible passages, messages of love, birds, rainbows, and trees.

Rockefeller first displayed AIDS Quilt sections in 2004, when panels created by Rockefeller Dean Alison Boden and administrative assistant David Wyka were among those on exhibit. This time chapel staff requested Chicago-based sections. "A lot of people come in and are very moved by it," says Lorraine Brochu, AM'88, Rockefeller's assistant to the dean for external affairs. The display, Brochu notes, began December 1, World AIDS Day, and continues through December 23.

Founded in 1987, the AIDS Memorial Quilt now includes 5,748 sections, each comprising about eight panels. The works tour the country in organizers' goal "to reach more communities with messages of remembrance, awareness, and hope."


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Photos (left to right): Six quilt sections adorn the chapel's east transept; Rockefeller staff requested Chicago-themed panels.

December 18, 2006