Lubbock Christian University recently celebrated the completion of their unique collection of original portraits of U.S. Presidents, which will be on display in the Cardwell Welcome Center Rotunda through May 30. LCU came to own one of eight collections of presidential portraits in July of 1978 when Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Clayton gave the university their set entitled, “The Gallery of the Presidents.” Renowned portrait artist, Lawrence Williams, painted the original eight sets as a contribution to the nation’s bicentennial celebration.
“Learning, character, and citizenship is in our alma matter, it’s who we are,” said LCU President Tim Perrin at the unveiling. “It’s only appropriate and fitting to have this collection in our hands, a collection of our nation’s great leaders.”
The Clayton’s donation included 38 portraits of presidents, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter. Since 1978, donors made it possible for Williams to paint the portraits of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton for LCU before Williams’s death in 2003.
Williams painted the 41 portraits from official photographs he obtained from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Over the years, most of the eight collections have found a home in museums, with the original set residing in the Colorado Department of Education.
The newest addition of President Obama was painted by Paul Milosevich who attended the unveiling.
Milosevich grew up in Trinidad, Colorado, and was inspired to pursue art after studying with American artist and historian, Arthur Roy Mitchell. Milosevich built a career around his three passions: golf, drawing, and country musicians. He gained national recognition for his charcoal portraits of Nashville Songwriters Association International Hall of Fame inductees and for his golf paintings. He is known as a master of portraitures and has painted celebrities such as Johnny Cash and Tiger Woods. Before becoming a full-time artist, Milosevich taught art at Texas Tech University from 1970-1975. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“[LCU’s Presidential Portraits] is an amazing collection, and it is a thrill to be a part of it,” said Milosevich at the reception.
In a private interview, Milosevich explained that he found the collection visually interesting. Since a kid, he has been fascinated by how people look, and as an artist he loves to paint and study portraits due to his interest in the human face. When asked which of his paintings is his personal favorite, Milosevich says with a smile, “The next one.”
Funding to complete the collection was provided through the generosity of Doug (’74) and Dana Perrin, and Mark (’95) and Becky Perrin, brothers of LCU’s President Tim Perrin.
Lubbock Christian University has more than 2000 students and is a four-year private master's level institution that promotes unique educational opportunities with a strategic focus on student success in four key areas: spiritual formation, intellectual growth, personal stewardship and leadership development. Degree programs are offered for both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. For over 55 years, the school has offered academic excellence in a Christian environment.