Botzman Showcases Student Art on Campus

Nicole Battista, Reporter

President Thomas Botzman’s office demonstrates the university’s potential. There are tiles from the roof of Catherine McAuley’s home, other “Mercy things,” books and publications by trustees and faculty, a pile of faculty research brochures and a copy of the student literature magazine “Instress,” all on a table to the left of the doors.

Botzman also has two sculptures of monks from Mexico on the table, and he will soon add a piece of artwork from Sister Regina Kelly after graduation. He could not find any work from the Sisters of Mercy, but he did discover a mace that Kelly created by hand.

Botzman wants to bring life to his office as well as throughout the campus – through artwork.

More recently he added three photographs taken by Mary Bove, senior communications major. Botzman met with Bove, looked through her portfolio and asked her to “blow up and frame” some of her photographs for his office.

The photographs include a student jumping into a pile of snow, a ballerina’s feet and a landscape shot of snow falling on campus.

Botzman decorated this way to symbolically represent “who we are and who we are becoming.”

“A true university generates new knowledge or new ways of expressing,” Botzman said.

The monks represent “going to the ends of the earth with what we are doing,” he said.

That includes doing research, which he said is the work of a university, which Misericordia became several years ago.

Botzman said colleges are different from universities in that while colleges teach and do service, they do not do as much research.

Botzman said research activity is more than publication for students and faculty but also “how they demonstrate their commitment to their fields, how they do in their outreach and do in their practice.”

Displaying the work of the university community shows what has been done and what can be done in the future, and Botzman said he does not know how his office table will turn out, but he likes where it is heading.

He likes to talk about the area with prospective students and faculty candidates, “because it says to me this is a young university, but look at how much potential we have to grow if we really stick to it and work at it, what we could become.”

While some universities decorate with buildings they want or pictures of nature, MU has walls dedicated to sponsors and donors, and there are bulletin boards found all over campus. Botzman noticed that not many places represented students.

Two of the subjects in Bove’s photographs are former students, and one of the photos, which shows a young man jumping into a pile of snow, was featured in The New York Times.

Bove said she is honored to have her photography in Botzman’s office.
“It’s really cool, to say the least. How would you feel?” Bove said.

Bove said that she would undertake a similar decorating plan if she had an office.

“If I were a president of a school, I would be proud to have work that people at my school did in my office. It gets the people who deserve recognition to be recognized,” Bove said.

Another new addition is found in the hallway between the Lemmond Theater and the breezeway.

Botzman said that he thinks the breezeway or the “arcade” is “one of the coolest places on campus,” and that Insalaco looks nice, but the hallway needed work.

A new coat of paint and photographs of different sizes now adorn the walls. The photos show students hanging out together, studying, walking around campus and having fun.

Botzman said that they brighten up the hallway, and “give you a sense that this is where students belong.”

Bove said that the new decor made her slow down and look.

Putting the photographs up was a cheap and easy way to decorate, Botzman said. But Botzman and Bove agreed that one thing is missing: diversity.

Students are shown having fun, but there is no real learning taking place in the works.

Botzman would like to show more faculty-student interactions, students working on projects, students working in the community and the like to better represent the university community.

Bove said the photos in the hallway are nice because “walls can be very boring,” but she would like to see more student artwork around campus.

“I took some of my best photos ever here,” Bove said.

He favorite shot is one she took during football season.

“[The player] is up in mid-air, his feet are tucked up behind him with the football. You see the guy falling, trying to catch him as he’s getting a touchdown,” Bove said.

Bove said student artwork displays are not only good for the current students; they are inspirational to prospective ones as well.

“Look what these people did,” Bove said. “You can do that, too.”

She said although MU is primarily a health science school, it also supports the arts.

“As much of a science-oriented school this is, there is an arts population here, too, and we should be recognized,” Bove said.

Moving forward, Botzman would like to find space to demonstrate more creative pieces.

“Is there a way when we design a facility that we could have some of that?” The pieces would show “another example of work that we’ve done, our academic community, our college, our living and learning community that we can show everyone.” Botzman said.

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