Campus, News

School of Law installs mural showcasing notable alumni

Alumni of Boston University School of Law, including Barbara Jordan and Gary Locke, are now featured on the second floor outside McCausland Commons in a newly installed mural. PHOTO BY SYDNEY MAES/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Stepping into the Boston University School of Law’s Sumner M. Redstone Building, one can now witness a history-infused addition of colors: a mural depicting 11 of the school’s graduates who, according to LAW Dean Maureen O’Rourke, embody the “theme of advancing justice.”

The featured alumni on the mural, titled “Advancing Justice Since Day One,” range from Emanuel Hewlett, the school’s first African American graduate, to Martha Coakley, Massachusetts’ first female attorney general.

Installed on Aug. 18, the mural covers the wall — 13 feet tall and 25 feet wide — that precedes the McCausland Commons, a popular assembly spot for law students, on the building’s second floor.

LAW spokesperson Ann Comer-Woods, who led the internal committee that commissioned the mural, said the school started planning the artwork about a year ago.

The committee selected the 11 graduates for “[distinguishing] themselves as public servants, really working tirelessly to advance justice or worked as legal pioneers fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised,” she said.

Daniel Hertzberg, the New Jersey-based illustrator who created the mural, said the digitally-designed mural took six weeks to make. He chose a bright selection of colors to underscore the alumni’s significance, he added.

“The variety of color in this mural also speaks for the diversity that [LAW] wanted to highlight,” Hertzberg said. “It was a lot of fun to be a part of.”

At the portrayed alumni’s rear, the mural also pictures three buildings that have housed the law school: the Redstone Building, the Law Tower and a downtown Boston building in Ashburton Place, which served the school’s home from 1897 to 1964.

Unveiled a week before the controversial rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the mural expresses the need and inspiration for justice, LAW Dean O’Rourke, wrote in an August blog post.

“The ideals of a free and democratic society require constant effort to maintain,” O’Rourke wrote. “For nearly 150 years, our alumni have been working to advance justice and ensure that all members of our society benefit from the rights enshrined in our U.S. Constitution.”

Other figures in the mural include Gary Locke, the first governor of Asian descent in the continental United States, William Cohen, who served as the Secretary of Defense during Bill Clinton’s presidency and Barbara Jordan, a former three-term senator from Texas.

Several students said they appreciate the mural’s installation, as it informs them of the school’s alumni who they might not have recognized before.

Malwina Grzybowska, a first-year law student, said as an international student from Poland, she is interested in learning more about the mural’s portrayed figures.

“They’re important people in law,” she said. “From my aesthetic point of view, it adds a pretty nice, colorful, life to the space.”

Murat Dogruol, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the mural — some of its figures he could recognize — can serve a source of inspiration for passersby.

“With all bright colors, it’s more refreshing; it will help people get their minds off something,” he said. “It will also urge them to think beyond the box, maybe gain new thoughts, new ideas about things and get inspirations from these people.”

Claudia Bennett, a first-year law student, said although she is not fond of the mural’s design, the artwork espouses the law school’s values.

“It’s nice to know where alums go and what they do,” Bennett said.

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