Mark Balma, the artist who painted fresco depictions of the seven virtues on the atrium ceiling of St. Thomas' Terrence Murphy Hall, also painted the pillar frescoes of the Minneapolis campus' founders or those they designated. He finished the portraits in summer 1995.
This panel portrays David and Barbara Koch. David Koch, a 1952 graduate of St. Thomas, is Graco's chairman. He chaired St. Thomas' Century II capital campaign and has been a member of St. Thomas' board of trustees since 1978. Barbara Koch has won awards from the Humane Society and also raises Gordon setters.
The country atmosphere of their portrait is repeated in the fresco as Balma worked on the design concepts while at his country studio in Assisi, Italy. Animal symbols are prevalent throughout the frescoes.
Barb kneels by her dog, which represents a universal symbol of faithfulness. She is not kneeling before her husband, but embracing her faith, which sometimes calls upon us to look at things at a different level or to act in a way which may seem strange to others.
Dave is standing with a staff in his hand. It is actually a shovel handle. Themes of work or sowing and reaping reoccur throughout the fresco. Behind him stands a flowering tree, which symbolizes the fruits not only of his labor, but of the necessity of believing in himself as an integral part of success. His gaze leads us upward to the Faith fresco.
This panel portrays Guy and Barbara Schoenecker. In a rather stoic pose, Guy is standing before a serene landscape of early morning. Barbara is in profile, as if she is watching the sunrise. Guy is looking at the viewer, as if he is inviting you to join them at the lakeshore. The harmony of the couple is reminiscent of the symbolic balance of the two Justice figures. Again the time of the day and the rich lavender tones of the sunrise are symbolic of the dawn of beginning, of new opportunities. These are symbolic images for Guy's company, Business Incentives. At their feet is a goose on a nest. Barbara is an animal lover and had a pet goose which had been injured. The real goose of her experience became the mythical "Goose that laid the Golden Egg," which, too, is a symbol of the entrepreneur who risks all in pursuit of a dream. Their posture suggests a further balance of collective success: one gazes toward the horizon, the other looks to what is at hand.
Guy, a 1949 St. Thomas alumnus, is president and chief quality officer of Business Incentives Inc. He has been a member of the university's board of trustees since 1978.
This panel portrays Eugene and Mary Frey. Eugene Frey, retired chairman and CEO of Waldorf Corp., is a 1952 St. Thomas alumnus and a member of the university's board of trustees.
Gene is seated at a desk, looking over blueprints of cartons, which his company, Waldorf Corp., produced. Mary is behind him, looking directly at the viewer. She is holding a box of various food items in cartons produced by Waldorf. These items are symbolic of Mary's volunteer work for Catholic Charities. Her gesture of offering is prevalent in both Hope and Prudence frescoes where a woman offers to make peace with the dragon and women are portrayed as bringing hope through different aspects of life and death. The blueprints too, are a creation symbol. There is a cyclical aspect to their story, in which their unique actions are connected by a common element. The Hope fresco is a circular piece and also utilizes a cycle theme.
This panel portrays Bernard and Tamara Brennan. Bernard Brennan is former chairman and CEO of Montgomery Ward & Co. A 1964 graduate, Bernard Brennan served St. Thomas' board of trustees from 1986 to 1996. He received the 1994 John Cade Award from the St. Thomas Center for Entrepreneurship. In this panel, Balma explores the symbolic and artistic balance achieved through male and female qualities in union. Balma painted Bernard in gestures of strength and confidence. He is moving forward, buttoning his suitcoat as if he is preparing to face the world. This is the self-reliance of the entrepreneur. Tamara seems to be in the background; however, her face is not passive. Her arm is resting on his shoulder, in support of her husband's efforts. She represents the grounding which Balma feels is necessary for all dreamers to have, lest their dreams carry them away. She relates to the Prudence fresco symbolic woman, who knows she needs to understand, rather than to challenge the dragon of wisdom to pass through the gates.
An outline of the Montgomery Ward's landmark building in St. Paul's Midway area appears in this panel's background.
This panel portrays William and Anne Stocks standing arm in arm in a golden field of grain. William Stocks is a retired president and CEO of the Peavey Co., a grain company now part of ConAgra Inc. A 1953 St. Thomas graduate, he also was a member of the St. Thomas board of trustees from 1978 to 1988 and served on the Catholic Charities board.
Grain has symbolic significance in reaping what you have sown. Wheat is a symbol of staple food, of nourishment for both physical and spiritual means. It relates to the cycle of life theme found in the Hope fresco. Like Ann and William, Mark Balma, who works closely with his wife, felt this to be an important symbol for young people today. As in the Temperance fresco, the Stocks seem planted, solid in their field of wavering wheat.
This panel portrays William and Joanne Reiling standing near an Italian balustrade and a lemon tree. William Reiling is a 1954 St. Thomas alumnus who is chairman and CEO of Towle Real Estate Co. A member of the university's board of trustees since 1982, he received the 1987 Catholic Charities Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
Balma received much good advice from William and so chose to depict him as looking out at the viewers, as if he chose to share something with them. Balma wished to depict Joan in a regal, mythical world where the absorption of enjoying what is special about God's gifts is an attribute. The European goldfinch, which is also present in the Faith fresco, is a symbol of Jesus. In the background is a skyline view representing William Reiling's career at Towle Real Estate Co.
Monsignor Terrence Murphy, chancellor of the University of St. Thomas, is portrayed in his ceremonial doctoral robe. Murphy was president of St. Thomas from 1966 to 1991. In his hands he holds the gothic "Arches," the landmark entrance and recognizable feature of the university's St. Paul campus. They symbolize that the same ideals of the university are encompassed in the Minneapolis campus. Murphy appears to be offering the arches to the two students in the foreground. He invites them to take hold of the gift of knowledge.
A student in the foreground holds the book, Summa Theologiae (Summary of Theology), in which St. Thomas Aquinas, its author, discussed the Seven Virtues.
This panel portrays Tom and Pat Madison, with their two sons and daughter walking behind them, in a serene natural setting.
Tom Madison is a retired president of USWC markets for US West and a former Minnesota regional vice president of Northwestern Bell. He now is president and chief executive officer of MLM Partners, a Minneapolis consulting firm. He has been a member of the St. Thomas board of trustees since 1982.
Tom is in the foreground, parting the tall grass. The symbols of communication and success are subtly depicted in this gesture as he creates a path for others without having to break his way or disturb the existing elements.
Pat is holding a tiny purplish flower of the group Veronica, which is a symbol of hope. The Madisons' love of nature and walking in the woods is a major part of the panel. The backgrounds telephone poles and lines refer to Tom Madison's career.
This panel recognizes Leonard Mikulay, a 1942 St. Thomas alumnus. With his brother, Arnold, he owns the Mikulay Co., a property development firm in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, Mikulay Plaza on the Minneapolis campus is named in their honor.
This panel portrays three evening students, who symbolize the success of St. Thomas' Minneapolis campus.
This panel portrays Virginia businessman James Springer and his wife, Janina. The Springers are longtime friends of the university. James enrolled at St. Thomas in 1927 but left after two years to begin a career. The Springers, who are members of the President's Council at St. Thomas, also established a scholarship fund.
The panel's setting is a cemetery that that James Springer developed. The cat belongs to Janina. Although they are together, they seem to be gazing off in different directions. Their faces symbolize the vision of the entrepreneur. The cat is one of many homeless animals that Janina Springer takes in and cares for. James' presence brings the viewers gaze back to a reality point. Their visionary stance calls upon the viewer to further ponder the significance of vision in the Hope fresco above them. References to the Springers' business can be found in the background monuments and the bench on which they are seated.
Here Arnold Mikulay stands next to one of the art nouveau bronze sculptures he collects. The figurative statue is repeated in the statuesque figures that loom overhead in the Justice fresco.
This panel portrays Arnold Mikulay, a 1942 alumnus, who has been a member of the St. Thomas board of trustees since 1992. With his brother, Leonard, he owns the Mikulay Co., a property development firm in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, Mikulay Plaza on St. Thomas' Minneapolis campus is named in their honor.
This panel portrays the Rauenhorst family huddled together studying a large blueprint, with Gerald's daughter playing with the blocks. Gerald Rauenhorst, a 1948 St. Thomas graduate, is chairman and chief executive officer of Opus Corp., the design-construction family business that built the Minneapolis campus. Rauenhorst has been a member of the St. Thomas board of trustees since 1967. The family is the prevalent theme in the Faith fresco on the panel above them.
References to Opus Corp. can be found in the building blocks in the foreground and the skyscraper being raised in the background.
This panel recognizes the work of Dr. James Renier, a 1951 St. Thomas alumnus who is retired CEO of Honeywell Inc. The panel portrays a child and his young mother, a play on the theme of Madonna and child. The mother reaches down to help her son take his first steps. Behind her is a halo-like orb, recognizable as a Honeywell thermostat, which has the world lightly etched in it. The earth demonstrates this company's desire to be a part of the global conscience.
New Vistas School, a Minneapolis public school program for pregnant and parenting students in grades 10-12, is located at Honeywell's corporate headquarters. It serves 60 students; on-site child care there serves some 55 children. Renier was instrumental to the founding of New Vistas.
Within the piece there are symbols of success, the leather case, suggesting the woman has returned to work. The child is reaching upward to walk, an initiative he has made himself, but having done so with the confidence that his mother will lend a hand. These themes also are repeated in the Fortitude and Charity frescoes, as they address the themes of inner strength and selfless love.