Two bronze sculptures dedicated at FHSU on successive days

Two new pieces of bronze statuary now grace the Fort Hays State University campus and were dedicated by their donors on Wednesday, May 2, and Thursday, May 3.

Both "The Jester" and "Birth of a Physicist" were installed April 23.

The Jester

Victor Issa's "The Jester," a life-size depiction of the European character of the same name who was employed to tell jokes and provide general entertainment for European monarchs, was installed in front of Malloy Hall as a welcoming token to fine arts students and visitors to FHSU. The dedication will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 2.

"The Jester" was donated by the Lusk Foundation in memory of William E. "Bill" Lusk, an alumnus of FHSU. For decades, the Lusk Foundation has contributed to FHSU by providing both gifts and service and has remained a prominent figure in the minds of students and faculty alike. Lusk, an economics major at FHSU, graduated in 1939.

In 1969, he provided a unique experience for students by contributing common stock to the FHSU Endowment Association. The stock was then sold to create the William E. Lusk Scholarship Fund. While the fund is in custody of the FHSU Foundation (formerly the FHSU Endowment Association), the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi is given the freedom to invest a portion of the funds in order to help the scholarship grow. Lusk, who passed away in 2002, once said he established the scholarship because, "I have always felt indebted to the faculty members, the Alumni Association, and the institution which gave me and others an opportunity, and I would like to show my appreciation in some way."

Janet Murfin, Lusk's daughter, donated the sculpture as an indication of how much FHSU meant to her father. "We decided to make a donation to FHSU because my dad spoke so fondly of his days at Fort Hays and all the wonderful people he met there," Murfin said. "He loved his professors and made lifelong friends of many of his classmates."

He had a special appreciation for the arts, which is why the sculpture will be placed outside of Malloy Hall, the home of FHSU’s Music and Theatre Department. "I know he would be pleased to be contributing to the beauty of the campus with a sculpture that was one of his favorites," Murfin said.

The sculptor, Victor Issa, is known for bronze work that creates a sense of being alive. Issa has been sculpting for nearly 30 years while being featured in shows and exhibitions across America. His works are displayed both publicly and privately worldwide.

Birth of a Physicist

This bronze sculpture, created by Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, was commissioned and donated by Drs. Lou and Harriet Caplan, Hays. It was placed on the courtyard wall between Tomanek Hall and Forsyth Library. The dedication is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 3.

The Caplans have been supporters of the arts for most of their lives. Harriet has been involved with theatre productions, and Lou performed in orchestras from grade school to the Hays Symphony. Both are strong supporters of public art, so it was natural they wanted local artist Chapman to produce a piece for public display at Fort Hays State University, where they have spent years of their professional careers.

Harriet Caplan's career began as a parole officer, which led to a law degree and years in banking as a trust and estate officer. After marrying Lou, she joined the faculty at FHSU as affirmative action officer before moving into teaching law for the College of Business and Leadership.

Lou came to FHSU in 1970 after graduate school at the University of Nebraska. He taught physics and was chair of the Department of Physics and assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This led to a number of administrative positions, including assistant dean for interdisciplinary studies. Both of the Caplans retired in the summer of 2011.

The Caplans agreed that interacting with students was the most rewarding part of their careers. They said that part of a student's growth at a university comes from the interaction between disciplines, and it is their hope that the combination of art and science created by Chapman in "Birth of a Physicist" will be appreciated by all who have the opportunity to interact with it.

Chapman’s enthusiasm for art covers all mediums in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. He has been an active artist for the past 15 years and has recently been working in metals both cast and fabricated. His designs and images cover a broad spectrum of topics, designs, and forms.

Recent commissions reflect his diversity in his approach, as many want a piece reflecting their personal emotions and rely on his creative mind to enhance and project a personality that mirrors that feeling of emoting in physical form.

For more information on the FHSU Foundation or the sculptures, contact the Foundation's Angie Palombo at or at 785-628-5538.

Back to Index

Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |