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The Columbarium

The inspiration for The Columbarium came many years ago when Harry Vorys S1943 and Norbert Smith S1940 were walking across campus discussing how wonderful it would be if "Old Boys" could rest eternally on the grounds of their alma mater. Dedicated on September 29, 2001, The Columbarium was built to give alumni, family of alumni, faculty and staff, and friends a place to be memorialized. The Columbarium features cremation and memorial niches, a scattering ground area, and a Wall of Honor to pay eternal tribute to SJNMA alumni who lost their lives while serving our country.

The Columbarium is located adjacent to the Noble Victory Memorial Chapel of St. John the Divine, which is the center of worship and moral education that is instrumental in shaping the lives of the cadets.

The Memorial Wall at The Columbarium

Honor the memory of an old roommate, favorite teacher, coach or loved one. Bronze plaques are available in 4" x 8" and 8" x 8" to be forever placed on The Memorial Wall at The Columbarium. A full plate costs $995 and half plate $595 fully installed. Your name or the name of the person you would like to honor will be cast in bronze along with one or two sentences, space providing. To purchase a memorial plaque, complete the attached order form.

For more information, contact Anita Kopaczewski, director of Alumni and director of The Columbarium, at (262) 646-7220 or

Committal Services

The Columbarium and Scattering Ground committal planning services are available to you and your family. Our staff is sensitive to your personal needs and can assist you in pre-planning your service or at time of need.

Our selection of complimentary services when purchasing a niche or the scattering ground includes:

  • Custom bronze faceplate or plaque
  • Religious ceremony performed by either our Episcopalian priest or Chaplain
  • Music by the bagpipe corps
  • Keepsake program
  • Post ceremony reception in DeKoven Hall arranged and charged by our food service

If you are pre-planning your service, please let us know your favorite Christian hymnals. The Academy has a cadet choir.

If the deceased was a member of the military, we graciously offer the cadet color guard, an American flag presentation, 21-gun salute and Taps.

We are unable to offer some of these ceremonial tributes during the summer months of June, July and August when the Corps and faculty are on summer break. We do, however, offer the temporary storage of cremains in the Noble Victory Memorial Chapel for individuals and families who have purchased a niche or the scattering ground.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Columbarium is a place for final committal of cremated remains (cremains) on dignified and consecrated ground. Dating back to ancient times, the word "columbarium" comes from the translated Latin word meaning "dovecote." The word originated from how doves would nest in small niches in the mountains. The more common use of this word now refers to burial niches, most often above ground or contained within an architectural structure.

The Columbarium is sanctioned and approved as a cemetery according to Wisconsin law and thereby protected by the rules and regulations that govern them. A percentage of each niche purchase is set aside for the perpetual care of the Columbarium.

There are many kinds of situations where individuals may want to choose a niche at the Columbarium. We live in a transient society where the average individual moves eleven times over their lifetime. We are able to offer individuals a final resting place that pays tribute to the patriotic, character and spiritual values that are part of our legacy. Each year our Memorial Day services include the reading of the names of our alumni who have lost their lives in service to our country. On Commencement and Reunion Weekend, our graduating seniors pay homage to those alumni who died over the past year by giving a red rose in their honor at the Founders' Memorial Service at St. John's Chrysostom Church.

For those individuals who have already committed to The Columbarium, they have done so because of the deep impact this institution has had on their lives. Because they still consider St. John's Northwestern their home, many could not imagine being buried anywhere else.

Yes. Several of our alumni have done so and placed special Academy mementos (i.e., class ring, senior photo, ribbons, medals) in their niche.

The cost of a niche ranges from $2,300-$5,500 depending on the Wall and location that is chosen. The cost to use the scattering grounds is $1,500. A portion (60%) of your niche or scattering ground purchase is tax-deductible.

There are no additional fees. Your purchase of a niche includes a custom bronze niche faceplate or plaque. Your purchase to use the scattering grounds includes an inscribed bronze plate, which is affixed to the stone tablet in the designated scattering grounds area. The Columbarium and scattering ground purchases also include a committal service, music, program, and our Episcopal priest or Chaplain as officiates. Military honors are given to those with military service.