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What is the Ubuntu Mural?

Inspired by the African Humanist Philosophy of Ubuntu, the Ubuntu mural is a celebration of our interconnectedness. The mural is located outside the Office of International Education. By design, the location encourages individuals to go beyond narrow walls and geography to empower themselves. The visual imagery connects people, places and paths that have brought us all here together. Through the words “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE”, the mural captures the essence of the Ubuntu philosophy, highlighting our interconnectedness.

The mural captures this message visually in four distinct elements:

  1. Larger-than-life images of men and women, in halftones, who have shaped our understanding of our collective self. The lessons from them shared in the learning spaces in our University remind us of our common destiny and the larger purpose of higher education.
  2. Composite Portraits of our University’s founders comprised of 800 selfies to remind us of the importance and significance of diversity and inclusion to make the vision of our founders complete.
  3. Twitter-style stories of journeys, struggles, and successes of members of our University community to help us reflect on our own journeys that brought us together here at Ferris.
  4. A faint image of a whirling dervish dancing behind the portrait of our founders, communicating the sentiment of Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273), “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

The mural acts as a silent reminder to see ourselves as part of a larger, grander vision shared by our founders more than a hundred years ago. In the words of Mr. Ferris, which resonate with ancient wisdom also captured millennia ago in Sanskrit, one of the oldest languages in the world;