Orem, Utah – Marking the culmination of its 75th anniversary, Utah Valley University (UVU) will unveil for the first time Friday a massive stained glass window project now 12 years in the making called “Roots of Knowledge.” The 10-foot high, 200-foot wide 80-pane panorama pays tribute to the finest human achievements in art, architecture, music, law, literature, philosophy, medicine, science and technology. The Roots of Knowledge unveiling bookends a year-long celebration for UVU as its 75th anniversary year draws to an end. Home to more than 35,000 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.   

Conceived by artist Tom Holdman and UVU President Matthew Holland, Roots of Knowledge combines the work and guidance of 40+ professional artists, 26 UVU scholars and 350+ UVU students. Each window depicts humanity’s quest for knowledge since the dawn of time and illustrates major world events and inventions from the Mayan Calendar to the Japanese Noh play to the American Civil Rights Movement. 

“Roots of Knowledge has been a university-wide project that hundreds of staff and students have contributed to with great enthusiasm and anticipation,” said President Holland. “It is not just a beautiful work of art, but also the result of a truly collaborative effort that exemplifies our engaged learning philosophy and that we hope will inspire generations of students to come. We believe the exploration of the evolution of knowledge through this historic medium will provide rich and boundless educational opportunities for students and our entire community for the foreseeable future and well beyond the next 75 years.”

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, students and faculty members representing a variety of fields of study have participated in Roots of Knowledge in various forms over the course of the project. In addition to several UVU student artists contributing directly to the windows, other participation has ranged 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. Through a partnership with the Utah Education Network, UVU will also help to develop curriculum for Utah’s K-12 students about the Roots of Knowledge project.

“Roots of Knowledge has been a labor of love for me and my team, but we could not have completed it without the support of UVU, President Holland and the many students and faculty who took part in its creation,” said Tom Holdman. “It is a chance of a lifetime to see Roots of Knowledge at its permanent home on the UVU campus, and I hope it inspires everyone who comes to view it to strive to reach their best potential.”

The Roots of Knowledge windows will be unveiled Friday, Nov. 18 during a private ceremony at 1:30 p.m. and will be on display to the public and broader community for the first time later that evening during a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the UVU Library.

The Roots of Knowledge project was made possible through a public-private collaboration 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. UVU recently announced that the gallery that houses the windows is being named the Marc and Deborah Bingham Gallery after the Utah philanthropists who donated $1.5 million to the project in August. 

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 

About Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University is home to more than 35,000 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’s degrees.

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.