The portraits of Eastern Illinois University's past presidents are a focal point for visitors to Old Main -- the university's administrative building that, from the outside, reminds one of a medieval castle.
In the words of Victoria Markley, president of EIU's Alumni Association, "When walking through Old Main, the presidential portraits are a majestic reminder of the outstanding leadership we have had at EIU over the years.
"The Alumni Association is honored to help commemorate President (Lou) Hencken's leadership at EIU by funding a part of his portrait, allowing us to be part of a long-lasting Eastern tradition by supporting one of our most beloved alumni."
Portrait funding was shared equally with the EIU Foundation Board.
According to Steve Childers, EIU Foundation Board president, the group was "looking for a meaningful way to recognize Lou for his outstanding service to and leadership of the university.
"When we learned of the opportunity to help fund the presidential portrait, we knew this would be an excellent way to honor Lou's tenure as president and support of the Foundation. We also felt this contribution would demonstrate the spirit of partnership we have developed with the university and the Alumni Association."
The Hencken portrait will take its rightful place among portraits of each of Eastern's other former presidents later this summer. Members of Eastern's trades community are working to prepare Old Main's Cougill Foyer for the new addition.
Carpenter Boyce Dillman, who can be credited for constructing the secure wooden cases for several of the most recent portraits, will spend two to three days building the nearly identical case for the Hencken addition.
The painters and electricians will get involved when it comes time to paint and stain the box and install the lighting, said John Bailey, carpenter foreman.
Portrait Painter Gilbert Early, who painted the portrait of Hencken, as well as those of Gilbert Fite, David Jorns and Stan Rives, admires the cases much like others admire his work.
"I like having my portraits in Old Main. And I like the boxes that have been built around the portraits. You must have a good carpenter up there," he said.
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