September 29, 2014 | By Jake Weber
A brand-new piece of student art has become an instant historic detail of the Albion College President's Home. Designed by art major Lauren Daniels, '16, and created by Kalamazoo-based stained glass artist Lee Klade, two transom windows have been mounted in an interior archway on the second-floor landing.
"Seeing my sketches turned into big, stained glass windows was unbelievable," said Daniels, who returned to Albion before the start of classes in August to see the installation of the pieces. "Lee did a fantastic job of altering and turning my drawings into glass, sticking as close to the original as possible."
Daniels was asked that her design reflect both Albion College and the President's Home, 501 East Michigan Avenue, with an aesthetic to match the house's Georgian architecture. The home, built in 1910, served as the residence for four College presidents from 1940 to 1983; after 30 years as an administration building and later a female-student residence, the property was fully restored this summer to welcome new President Mauri Ditzler.
"I took lots of photos of different windows and even pillars in the house as reference and for inspiration," said Daniels. "I also met briefly with President Ditzler to get to know him. He said he trusted me to create the windows and that he was looking forward to seeing them finished."
Daniels' pieces reflect two campus icons: The Robinson Hall cupola and the Goodrich Chapel spire—along with symbolic images. "The shield is in the center of both windows, to tie in Albion's past and present," said Daniels. "A Bible [on the Goodrich window] represents the College's relationship with the United Methodist Church, and the three stars around it represent the three Methodist men who secured Albion's original charter. The oil lamp [on the Robinson window] is the historic symbol for learning or wisdom, so naturally, it's a part of the design."
"Overall, I am extremely happy with the way the stained glass windows turned out," Daniels concluded. "I am proud to have been involved in this project, which itself will become an historic event on Albion's campus."