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A Lifelong Love of Art: Juanita Trotter '52


On June 10, 2016, the College unveiled an outdoor sculpture in Trotter Arts Plaza. The piece, Bruno Romeda's 
Elipse (1987), was dedicated in celebration and memory of Juanita (Cranfill) Trotter ’52. Juanita was a former instructor of English, political science, history and art history at William Jewell and provided many gifts for scholarships and artwork on campus. Juanita was an avid supporter of the Harriman-Jewell series, as well as the Lyric Opera and Kansas City Symphony.

 Juanita originally came to Jewell with her husband, former William Jewell philosophy professor Dr. Robert Trotter (d. 1996). Well loved by students and their cohort alike, the Trotters were known for hosting students in their house every semester and holding listening sessions of their classical and jazz music library. An artist herself, Juanita was passionate about the visual and performing arts. She recognized that the visual arts didn’t have a strong presence on the campus. “She always envisioned the campus, it being a liberal arts campus that there would be visual art to stimulate the students,” says Clark Morris ’91, William Jewell’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and the executive and artistic director of the Harriman-Jewell Series.

One of Juanita’s first projects to incorporating more art on the Hill was curating a collection of artwork by Patric Shannon. Patric Shannon was married to Dr. Ann Marie Shannon, the first head of the Oxbridge program who was a beloved professor just like the Trotters. Patric was a visual artist who mostly painted. According to Morris, Patric was very much a part of the Jewell community because of his connection to Dr. Shannon. 

After Patric and Ann Marie passed away, there was a substantial collection of art in his artist's studio and Juanita gave the College a gift to purchase from his estate collection. “We then went to friends of the College who owned other Shannon work and we asked them if they would donate those to the college. My mentor, Richard Harriman did as well as a few others. So really it was Juanita’s spirit behind all of that work and creating a Shannon collection on campus,” says Morris. The paintings can be seen in Yates-Gill and several other buildings on campus.

In addition, during Shaping the Journey: The Campaign for Jewell Juanita supported the Pryor Learning Commons with a generous gift and the Trotter Arts Plaza was named in her honor. “She particularly loved how the Arts Plaza pulled in the art buildings to the quad whereas before they seemed visually separated."

The first piece of sculpture that was acquired for the campus was done by Stanley Boxer. Part of the impetus to add the newly dedicated sculpture, Elipse, to the Trotter Arts Plaza was so the Boxer sculpture didn’t seem so lonely and to have something complimentary to that. 

Elipse was placed in the Trotter Arts Plaza north of Pryor Learning Commons and frames the campus entrance as a reminder of students’ connections with the community. For guests arriving on campus, the view through the sculpture accentuates the heart of campus.

 

Juanita, unfortunately, passed away several months prior to the Bruno Romeda sculpture’s dedication. However, she did give her blessing that Elipse was the right piece for the Trotter Arts Plaza. Morris took a copy of the book Details by Bruno Romeda by her home so she could see the sculpture. “It wasn’t just a blessing actually, she was really excited about it,” says Morris. “She was very, very bright, thoughtful, witty and articulate. She was really just an incredible lady,” says Morris.

  

The Alexander Doniphan Heritage Society

If you’re interested in learning more or joining Alexander Doniphan Heritage Society, first and foremost – thank you for your interest in supporting William Jewell College. Making a gift from your estate allows you to make a gift now or after your lifetime while enjoying financial benefits for yourself and loved ones. For more information about endowed scholarships, contact Susan B. Tideman at 816-415-7550 or tidemans@william.jewell.edu.