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GOSHEN -- The late Goshen College physical education professor Roman Gingerich left the most obvious mark on the college's recreation and fitness center -- his name. But now his granddaughter leaves her influence on a little piece of it as well.
A mural by Liz Gunden, a senior art major from Chelsea, Mich., now hangs in the front lobby of the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center. Gunden never knew her grandfather -- he died shortly before she was born -- but the two now share this connection.
Gingerich was the college's first full-time paid physical education instructor and served as basketball coach and department chair. He worked at the school from 1941-1986, and died in 1989 at the age of 69. The facility was built and named after him in 1993.
Despite her personal connection to the fitness center, Gunden said she didn't originally set out to have the mural displayed there. That simply turned out to be the best spot for the painting.
"My grandma is really pleased," Gunden said. "It was sort of a nice coincidence."
Gunden painted the mural through the Maple Scholars Program, which allows students to do independent research projects alongside a professor. Gunden's supervising instructor was associate professor of art Randy Horst.
The painting portrays seven people in shades of red, pink, purple and yellow. Four of them are walking away, arms linked, and the other three stand together, looking out. She said she tried to convey themes of "togetherness" and "interconnectedness."
It took her about two months to research, design and create the mural, she said. First, she spent about two weeks researching mural techniques and history, since she'd never created a piece this big. She spent another two weeks coming up with a design, looking for a location, purchasing materials and submitting a proposal.
The mural is painted on three plywood panels, which hang together on the wall of the center. To create it, she first drew her design on paper, and then drew a grid over the design. Then she drew a larger-scale grid on the plywood panels and recreated each square of the paper grid onto the panels.
Gunden completed the mural Tuesday morning and said she'd consider creating another mural in the future.
"I've never done anything this big before," Gunden said.