'50th in Flight' Mural Dedicated in Campus Center
Galloway, N.J. _ The story of Stockton University is now displayed on a wall of the Campus Center in a 30x16-foot mural composed of almost 1,000 photos showing the history of the university over its first 50 years.
The 50th Anniversary Exhibit, titled “50th in Flight” was dedicated on Thursday as students, faculty and staff peered at the photos, looking to see if they might recognize someone.
The mural photos include Stockton presidents, faculty, staff and hundreds of students and student athletes. An image of the Stockton mascot, the osprey, is superimposed over the photos.
There are even a few famous folks, including President Joe Biden, who spoke at a Hughes Center Honors event in 2017, Justin Bieber, who presented a $100,000 check to student Julie Coker in 2020 to support her work with the mental health organization Active Minds, and Club America soccer coach Santiago Solari, who was a student for a semester in 1994 and returned to visit in 2021.
“This is more than just a retrospective of the past,” said President Harvey Kesselman. “It is a dynamic installation, a storytelling device that will inform and entertain.”
Kesselman was in the first class of freshmen at Stockton in 1971 and has spent virtually his whole career at Stockton. He noted that he can probably identify photos from every era on the mural.
Stockton Special Collections librarian Heather Perez, who co-chaired the project with Associate Professor of History Michelle McDonald and Director of Creative Services Ed Wuillermin, said the idea for the photo mural came from students.
“They didn’t want to do a traditional exhibit,” Perez said. Dozens of students, faculty and staff collaborated to define the themes for the mural, collect photos, and write up 50 short stories for a companion website.
“As you look at the mural, we hope you can find an image with which you can connect, maybe a sport, an event, or a location,” Perez said.
Graduate student Jessica Chamberlain of Cape May said she actually began working on 50th anniversary stories five years ago, when she was a student intern with Professor Tom Kinsella.
“Once we agreed on a mural, the next question was where it would go,” Chamberlain said. “We thought across from the presidents’ portraits in the Campus Center would be nice so they could look upon it. Plus, there was a big empty wall there.”
Chamberlain said the project has made her appreciate the importance of historical preservation.
“I hope everyone can see a representation of themselves in this mural,” she said.
- Story by Diane D'Amico
- Photos and video by Susan Allen