University News

WIU Graphics Production Class Designs Mural for University Union

April 2, 2021

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL – A unique mural of Abraham Lincoln, designed by Western Illinois University graphics students, will soon hang in the University Union to designate the building's Lincoln Room.

The initial idea for the mural came from University Union Assistant Director Ashley Katz, who wanted a design for the windows of the Lincoln Room to make its location in the building more recognizable. The mural design was then created by students of WIU Graphic Design Instructor Diana Higgins, including senior graphic design major Toby Allred, of Anthem, AZ, and Kortney Orr, a senior agriculture major from Columbus City, AZ.

"I am so proud of the students in their creation of this mural," said Higgins. "They listened to what Ashley wanted, and really came through with her vision. I hope it is the first in many projects that graphic design students can help design on campus."

Katz said when discussing aesthetic upgrades to the University Union, the panels outside the Lincoln Room have been seen as an opportunity for a large-scale display.

"The history of Illinois is consistently embedded throughout the University Union, so we wanted to continue this trend and pay homage to the namesake of the Lincoln Room," said Katz. "I reached out to Diana Higgins, an instructor of Graphic Design, and asked if she had any classes that would be willing to take on the project of creating the design. In regards to the design, I had asked for them to include Abraham Lincoln as the focus of the design but also to be sure the design was properly branded and included visual elements for WIU. We also worked closely with Natalie Divan from VPC through measurements and proofings of the design. The final piece is an excellent combination of the WIU brand overlayed with very well-designed tribute to Abraham Lincoln. We are extremely happy with the completed design and cannot wait for this student designed piece of art to be installed in the University Union."

The six-panel design is being printed and installed by WIU Visual Production Center Graphic Design Manager Natalie Divan, and student graphic assistant Justin Brown, a senior political science major from Rantoul, IL. Installation is scheduled for Wednesday, April 7.

For more information on WIU's Department of Art and Design, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations