A true reflection of Kansas State now illuminates the Alumni Center as a new stained glass mural was unveiled on Sept. 2. It was designed by 2016 K-State graduate Marcus Gilbert, and it was constructed by Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass.
Funding for the project came from Gib and Brenda Compton, both K-State alumni and members on the campaign committee for the K-State Alumni Association’s Innovation & Inspiration campaign to raise $1.4 billion for the university.
During the spring 2016 semester, the Comptons and the Alumni Association announced a contest for students, faculty and members of the community to submit potential designs.
“That way, we hopefully could capture the traditions, the academic part of the university,” Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the Alumni Association, said.
Those interested in entering had the summer to work on their entries before submitting them in the fall.
“The main reason I wanted to submit to the competition was because I graduated from K-State,” Gilbert said. “When I had this opportunity, I found that … what better compliment to the university that gave me a degree than to leave behind my own footprint?”
That summer, Gilbert spent many of his days touring the campus, looking for ideas to incorporate into his design, which he eventually titled “A Spot I Love Full Well.”
“The inspiration was to celebrate not only an aspect of K-State, but to celebrate all of K-State in all different areas,” Gilbert said.
The final product featured Hale Library, Anderson Hall and the Alumni Center with a sunset over the Flint Hills in the background.
“His design was so incredible,” Renz said. “Immediately, it was a unanimous decision. That was the one we wanted to utilize.”
Those involved in the project loved the design so much that only “limited modifications” were made during the process of construction, Renz said.
Among those few changes was a re-shaping of the design Gilbert drew. The original drawing was square, but the available space for the mural would better suit a rectangle.
Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass, based in Wichita, constructed the mural with Heather Gigax, a 2006 K-State graduate, at the lead.
Gilbert said that working with other K-State graduates was a “wonderful experience.”
“From beginning to end, it was a beautiful experience,” Gilbert said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.”
The final product is 14-by-7 feet, weighs 700 pounds and is comprised of almost 5,000 pieces of hand-cut stained glass. Compton Construction Services, owned by Gib Compton, made the wooden framework for the piece and installed it in the Alumni Center, where it was kept under a curtain for weeks. It was unveiled at an event on Sept. 2.
“It was just so fun to be at the event that day, the faces, the people’s reaction, it was exactly what we hoped for,” Renz said. “[The mural] really, to me, is just a beautiful piece of art that tells the K-State story.”
To see more of Gilbert’s artwork, visit his website at marcusgilbertartist.com.
The Alumni Association will also host an event at the Alumni Center on Oct. 12 to celebrate its 15th anniversary.