Houghton Class of 2022 Funds Presidential Portrait

May 31, 2022

During the 2022 Commencement Ceremony, the Student Council Senior Class representative, Hannah Heinl, presented President Lewis with a plaque representing their class gift. Hannah commented, “The tradition of leaving a mark on campus to be remembered by is something important to each graduating class. Equally if not more momentous is the first year of a new president at the college. With this in mind, our class raised money to help fund the painting of a portrait of President Wayne D. Lewis Jr., to be permanently displayed alongside the other paintings of our past beloved presidents of Houghton University.”

The portrait was created by Houghton University alum Kyle Stevenson ’96. Following his completion of a studio art degree from Houghton University, Stevenson earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Delaware in 2002. Currently serving as an associate professor of fine arts at Mercer County College in West Windsor, New Jersey, Kyle’s work has been displayed in Noyes Museum (Oceanville, NJ), Dragonfly Gallery (Oak Bluffs, MA), Trenton City Museum (Trenton, NJ), 701 Arch St. Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), Arnot Art Museum (Elmira NY) as well as numerous showings at Houghton University’s Ortlip Gallery.

The portrait of President Lewis joins the College Art Collection and alongside Kyle’s presidential portrait of President Emerita Shirley A. Mullen (2007). Kyle studied under Houghton professor Theodore Murphy where he learned the craft of portrait painting. Prior to entering the University of Delaware, Kyle became Houghton University’s second assistant to portrait painter Thomas Buechner. Buechner was the founding director of the Corning Museum of Glass and director of the Brooklyn Museum, where he oversaw a major transformation in its operation and displays.

Stevenson’s presidential portraits are painted in the style of the Double Portrait—depicting both the image of the person as well as objects that reflect the sitter’s interest, development, scholarship, and profession. Great portraiture tells a story in addition to depicting a person’s appearance.

Kyle’s connection to Houghton University runs deeper than his own academic journey. Both of Kyle’s parents, Daryl ’70 and Gudy (Mindrebo ’70) Stevenson, are alumni and both served on faculty at Houghton; his brothers, Tyler Stevenson ’03 and Eric Stevenson ’08, and his wife, Sarah (Gagnon ’00) are also graduates of Houghton. Kyle’s paternal grandparents, Margaret (Watson ’38) and Herbert H. ’38 Stevenson, were both alumni. Dr. Herbert H. Stevenson served as the sixth Chair of the Local Board of Trustees from 1974-1992. Kyle’s extended family also included numerous other alumni and friends of the college.

Official presidential portraits hang outside of the President’s Office Suite in Luckey Memorial Building.

Painted portrait of President Wayne Lewis