Office of Advancement hosts 2021 Student Art Contest

William Peace University’s campus is scattered with many beloved Pacer spots — from Main’s red brick and towering white columns to the intricate details of the black fountain. Students experience this beauty daily in their time at WPU.

The 2021 Student Art Contest, hosted by the WPU Office of Advancement, gave students a chance to create art that reflects their favorite spots on campus or to illustrate what WPU means to them. The new contest allowed students to experiment with any medium to show off their love for WPU. 

Three students were selected as winners and were awarded WPU Bookstore gift cards. The first-place winner was featured on the 2021 holiday card for the Office of Advancement and her art will be displayed in the Main Building. 

Here’s a look at the winners:

1st place: Leilani Nguyen ’22 

Piece Title: Fountain and Flora

Medium: 8×10 flat canvas, watercolor, acrylic paint, paint pens, ink pens, varnish

As Leilani Nguyen walked through campus, she saw paintings of the buildings and the landscape, but few of the fountain. She wanted to change that with her entry into the contest. 

Nguyen loved the fountain — it was the first spot she visited at her freshman orientation and it will be her final memory at graduation in May when she throws a rose into its bubbling water. Her art captured this meaning. 

“I was trying to express the fountain’s symbolism in the beginning and end of the William Peace University journey,” Nguyen said. The water sparkling is gentle and resembles dancing, the flowers are blooming, and the sky is light to express a sense of restful reassurance in the midst of challenging obstacles. The fountain connects the beauty of nature to the University’s closely-knit campus.” 

WPU’s tight community is what led Nguyen to attend the University to study biology. Her Peace experience has been centered on making relationships, connections, and memories. She feels supported by the community on campus — her family, colleagues, professors, and faculty encourage her through each day. Nguyen’s sister also attended WPU for similar reasons.

Artistic since she was five years old, Nguyen is passionate about making art as a hobby. However, a busy school year had kept her from spending her time creating. When she saw the contest deadline was just after Fall Break, she knew she wanted to use the days off to paint her entry. 

She is honored to win first place.

2nd place: Tori Suhre ’25

Piece Title:  Clocks

Medium: Photography

Communications major Tori Suhre enjoys entering photography and art contests. When she heard about the Office of Advancement’s contest, she was excited for the opportunity to compete. Her piece of the Campus Clock, presented in honor of Warren L. Bingham by Celeste Edgerton Ruark ’28, represents a spot that’s tucked away on campus. People usually just walk past it or read at it, she explained.  

“The artwork represents how time passes in that spot,” Suhre said. “I sit down to read and thirty or forty minutes past before I realize it; hence, the presence of the clock in the photo.”

That reading spot is one of many peaceful reading spots that dot campus grounds. These beautiful locations are what drew Suhre to attend WPU. 

3rd place: Jacob Trump ’25

Piece Title: Freeing Chains of Peace

Medium: Digital art

For freshman Jacob Trump, the art contest was a chance for him to challenge himself artistically and get involved on campus. His digital piece, created on an iPad 12, represents the student Pacers he sees on campus.

The horse in the artwork can be seen as being freed from the chains of society,” Trump said. “At WPU, I feel that many students are able to find their passions and be in a place that lets their interests fly and be free. They are able to be themselves.”

His WPU experience has been centered around this idea. WPU offers him a place where he can take advantage of opportunities to find community, passions and a career. While Trump’s major is currently undecided, he plans to focus on some type of design.

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