Western Kentucky University Centennial Mosaic


Location: Plaza between Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center and Helms library.

Dedicated on November 16, 2006

When the lights go on behind the eyes.

Arthur Koestler’s book The Act Of Creation speaks of the Aha! reflecting the spark of discovery and the Ha-ha! of laughter in the liberation of true innovation. This Celebration of Education is about a time and place made for growing, learning and changing.

The Western Kentucky University Centennial Mosaic features the fountain itself as history carried forward, restored and renewed with a new Centennial logo center plate, designed by our art students. The Sundial Clock, with its water gnomon (an ancient Greek word meaning “indicator”, “one who discerns,” or “that which reveals.”) and two golden face rings echoing outward, note that one-hundredth year. Sundials tell “solar time,” clocks tell mechanical time, and then there is atomic time and digital time and so on. “Hours pass deeds remain,” but there’s no time like the present to acknowledge the past and consider the future.

Western’s explorers go global, confident in their preparation and vision. Encouraging adventure and extension the compass rose appeared on charts and maps since the 1300’s. The term “rose” comes from the figure’s compass points resembling the well-known flower. Originally known as a wind rose, it indicated the directions of the winds. On a rolling ship by the light of a flickering lamp, these figures had to be clearly visible to map points of departure and beacons to return to. Planning today prevails tomorrow in engaging the world.

Embedded in the compass rose is a star map, plotted on a Global Positioning System and computer projected 100 years ahead to November 16, 2106. It mirrors the Constellations overhead. The “unbridled spirit” of Pegasus, the mythological winged horse, rises at dusk. Perseus arrives at midnight. He conquers Medusa by looking at the reflection in his silver shield and overcomes the uncertainty carried in her glare. Plan a head, imagine next and remember that over time dreamers become doers.

My sincere appreciation to the cooperative cross-disciplinary team that made this project possible.

Project Advisors and Contributors

President Gary Ransdell, Western Kentucky University

Provost Barbara Burch, Western Kentucky University

Dr. David Lee, Dean Potter College

Kim Chalmers, Art Department Head, Designer

David and Debra Cross, WKU Alum, Tile Trends, Installer

Doug Ault, Facilities Management

Natasha Smith, Planning and Design, WKU Facilities

Dr. Terry Leeper, Head, Manufacturing Sciences

Dr. Mike Carini, Physics and Astronomy

Jayne Pelaski, Chair, Centennial Committee

David Barnaby, Physics and Astronomy

Dr. Bryan Reaka, Architect and Manufacturing Sciences

Gregory Mills, Construction Management

Perry Hooks, WKU Art Student, graphics support