The Roots of Knowledge stained glass artwork was made to not only celebrate Utah Valley University’s 75th year anniversary, but to inspire and encourage students and others to make their mark on history.
The 26 extremely detailed stained glass panels, conceived by Tom Holdman -an internationally recognized stain glass artist and UVU alumnus- depicts knowledge from the beginning of humanity to the present day.The series of panels contain iconic people, artifacts and events that describe the evolution of the world’s intellectual advancement over the years. Joan of Arc, the tree of life, Alexander the Great and The American Civil Rights movement are just a few of the historical moments that are featured in the glasswork.
“We hope that it inspires students and inspires people that the human race is amazing and thatthere is so much good. To make people stop and think, how can I add to this,” said Cameron Oscarson, the head artist of the project.
Holdman first came to UVU President Matthew Holland with the Roots of Knowledge idea over 10 years ago with only one aspiration in mind: “How we can inspire the next generation? How much potential is inside of every one of us?” said Holdman, “We can show how humankind has evolved and how much we have been integral in the world.”
12 years later, President Holland, Holdman, a team of artists and faculty took the panels to Oxford, London and New York City. The select panels that were brought on the journey were raved over by anyone who saw them, including The Guardian and Fox 5 News.
“We had a splashy color photo story in the Guardian. Their opening line was that the stain glass windows going in at Utah Valley University, ‘are one of the most amazing stain glass windows ever made in the last century’,” said President Holland. “It is such a compliment to the institution, the project and to what we are achieving.”
Daniel Bradford, a junior in the biology education program at UVU and an employee of Holdman studios, agrees that the project will become an icon not only for the school, but for Utah.
“One of my co-workers just went to London and posted pictures of stain glass windows. Those are classics in Europe… This is going to be a classic. It’s going to draw many people,” said Bradford.
As students walk across campus and tourists come from all over the world to see this extraordinary work of art, they should feel inspired to add to the intellectual evolution of mankind.
“If a person comes up to the window and looks at it and thinks ‘that’s magnificent’ and walks away, then we haven’t done our job,” said Holdman. “They will need to look at it and cause action in their life and think, ‘I want to add to that’.”
The masterpiece will be revealed November 18.