News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 4, 2013

Rose-Hulman seniors leave their mark

Large mosaic mural to feature school mascot ‘Rosie’

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — When an elephant lumbers past, she’s bound to leave a mark.

And that’s what the 2013 Rose-Hulman graduating class wants to leave for future generations of Engineers.

“This is essentially the senior class gift,” said Durushka Ahmed, senior class president, speaking of the 14 foot-by-14 foot mosaic mural featuring “Rosie,” the school’s elephant mascot, striding above the words, “Leave your mark 2013.”

The mosaic design sprang from the creative mind of Edie Richards, a Wabash Valley artist with lots of experience with mosaics and murals. At first, the mosaic was simply to feature the Rose-Hulman “R,” But Richards wanted to bring Rosie into the picture.

The mosaic project got the OK from Rose officials just a few weeks ago, so work has been on-going pretty much non-stop each evening as dedicated Rose-Hulman seniors spend hours numbering each piece of tile slated to become part of the giant mosaic.

“Think of this as a big, 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle,” Richards said.

Often senior class projects at Rose involve raising money for scholarships or study rooms. The class of 2013 wanted to do something different and tangible, Ahmed said. A 10-member committee chose this project, which was later approved by a vote of all the seniors, she said.

“They didn’t know how crazy this idea was,” Richards said looking at an outline of the mosaic on the floor of the Branam Innovation Center on the Rose campus. “But I think it’s a good crazy.”

When completed, the mosaic mural will be a permanent part of the newest structure at Rose-Hulman, a new amphitheater in the middle of campus to be used, among other things, for outdoor classes. Richards plans to begin assembling the approximately 5,000 mosaic pieces on the amphitheater wall Monday. The official unveiling is slated for May 13.

Part of the project involved using hammers to smash thick ceramic tiles to create the pieces for the mosaic. Rose seniors involved in the project said that part allowed them to blow off some steam. Each piece is being individually fitted into the design pattern and numbered to make later assembly as easy as possible for Richards.

“We’ve been living here,” Ahmed said of the handful of seniors working on the project Friday night. In all, about 10 percent of the senior class of nearly 500 students have participated in the actual work, she said.

On Friday night, along with Ahmed, seniors Alexandra Schwier and Carley Shumate worked on the project along side Richards. Also, Kayla Pence, a 2012 graduate, was lending a hand.

Doing a project such as this was a nice break from engineering course work, Ahmed said. In fact, there really weren’t very many engineering skills involved in the project, she said.

“This has been a very different experience,” she said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or