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Portraits of Our Founders


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The world is one big family. Time and distance have been annihilated. National isolation is a thing of the past.” This sentiment, spoken by our founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris was a vision he embraced. In honor of this vision, the Office of International Education in collaboration with the Fine Art Gallery, the Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center, and others invited the campus community to be part of an art project to create composite portraits of our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris. These composite portraits are the centerpiece of the Ubuntu Mural.

We commissioned the photography artist, Al Wildey, to construct the portraits of Woodbridge and Helen Ferris by creating a collage of images of more than 800 individuals across the University community in the form of modern-day selfies. From a distance, the collage of selfies form the images of our founders. Up close, individuals images of members of our campus community from many different backgrounds and all walks of life are visible. The spirit of togetherness captured in this collage is in the best traditions of many societies. The African philosophy of Ubuntu embraces the concept that “I am who I am because of who we all are”. This concept is similar to the words of our founder, “The World is one big family.” The portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Ferris allow us to celebrate our interconnectedness through a visual mosaic comprised of our campus community members, honoring the legacy of our founders and the promise of a more inclusive and global future.