Utah Valley University Virtualizes Major Art Exhibition for Freshman Convocation Ceremony


Students, family, faculty and staff participate in the Freshman Convocation on the Utah Valley University Campus in Orem, Utah Friday August 22, 2016. (Jay Drowns/UVU Marketing)

Utah Valley University Virtualizes Major Art Exhibition for Freshman Convocation Ceremony

“Sneak peek” of Roots of Knowledge blends actors, technology and stained glass window panes as part of freshman experience


UVU professor Wayne Hanewicz portraits with stained glass windows at Holdman Studios in Lehi, Utah on Monday August 15, 2016. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

Orem, Utah – Utah Valley University (UVU) will kick off another academic year on Monday and welcome approximately 3,500 incoming freshman students – one of UVU’s largest incoming freshman classes on record – and their families to campus at its annual Freshman Convocation. As part of the ceremony, which begins at 6:00 p.m. at the UCCU Center, UVU will preview components of its Roots of Knowledge project, a bold, large-scale, permanent stained glass window exhibition comprising 80 individual panes that will total 10 feet in height and 200 feet in length when completed later this year. The project powerfully blends art, public space, and education, further strengthening the university’s vision and approach to engaged learning.

Upon completion, Roots of Knowledge will anchor an undulating wall of windows at the UVU Library entrance and will be unveiled to the public onNov. 18 as a capstone to the university’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Convocation attendees will be virtually transported through the exquisite and interactive stained glass window panes to learn of UVU’s unique mission and the opportunities that await them at UVU. The virtual experience was created by a cutting-edge multimedia team at UVU using the latest in digital and creative imaging technology integrated into some of the Roots of Knowledge window panes. The imagery will serve as a prelude to UVU President Matthew Holland’s welcome speech, which will include a discussion of Roots of Knowledge and its role in engaged learning.

“UVU Freshman Convocation is one of the most significant highlights of the academic year,” said President Holland. “The excitement felt by new students, their families, our faculty and staff will be elevated this year with UVU’s historic Roots of Knowledge exhibition. This extraordinary work of art underscores the university’s core commitment to serious reflection and consideration of the human mind’s greatest achievements. It will also serve as a centerpiece of our campus and yet another illustration of our engaged learning pedagogy and philosophy.”

As one of the four core themes of UVU, engaged learning immerses students in real-world contexts within the curriculum and activities outside the classroom to increase professional competence and confidence. Using this philosophy, hundreds of students and multiple faculty members have participated in the Roots of Knowledge project, from creating historical and cultural content to curriculum development that will enable Roots of Knowledge visitors to experience and more fully understand every visual element of the wall.

“Being a part of Roots of Knowledge has been an invaluable experience,” said 2016 UVU graduate Dallin Orr, who was the first student intern involved in the project – as a glass cutter, graphic designer and researcher – and has since been hired full-time at Holdman Studios as a glass painter. “It has given me a profound understanding of art and history and enabled me to create deep bonds with my professors and fellow students, as well as the artists at Holdman Studios. Importantly, I’m now gainfully employed.”

The Roots of Knowledge project is made possible through a public-private initiative led by UVU and Holdman Studios, one of the country’s top stained glass art studios based in Lehi, Utah, with funding from a generous donor community.

Roots of Knowledge Fast Facts:

  • 80 panes
  • 60,000 pieces of individual glass
  • Combines the work and knowledge of more than 40 professional artists and 26 UVU scholars
  • More than 350 UVU students participated in the project, as painters, project managers, programmers, designers and artists

Additional Resources:

About Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college, and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education and engaged learning.

About Holdman Studios

Based in Lehi, Utah, Holdman Studios has been designing glass art since 1988. It has been commissioned worldwide to design and create various projects in glass, each unique in its own style and design. Many projects have been completed for commercial buildings, private residences, religious institutions and public art projects. Under the leadership of Tom Holdman, the Holdman Studios’ team of artists designs every stained glass window from scratch. The studio’s work is on display in all 50 states and several countries worldwide.


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