This Shepherd University 150th anniversary quilt, pieced together by Rhonda Donaldson, contains squares signed by students, faculty, staff and alumni of Shepherd University. Photo by Larissa Mendy

Quilt commemorates SU’s 150th Anniversary

Assembled either by sewing or by tying the layers together with pieces of yarn, quilts made for bedding are more like works of art made to hang on the wall.

Quilts tell stories through patterns. The geometry describes events, stories. Rhonda Donaldson, coordinator of research services at Scarborough Library, found a form of creative expression by collecting individually decorated squares from students, faculty, staff and alumni of Shepherd University.

Rhonda Donaldson wanted to do something different to celebrate Shepherd University’s 150th anniversary. So she collected quilt squares signed by students, staff and alumni and assembled them into a quilt. The quilt is on display at Scarborough Library. Photo by Larissa Mendy

Donaldson said she wanted to do something different to celebrate SU’s 150th anniversary and have all university involved (students, staffs, and faculty). So, she put the word out back in August, asking people to sign and decorate quilt squares she had cut out.

People took the squares home, signed and decorated them and returned them to Donaldson throughout the fall. The last square was returned to her on Dec. 8. She began quilting on Friday, Jan. 21, and finished the project that Sunday, Jan. 23.

She said, “It was not easy to get everyone to sign at the beginning, I had to send an email to ask people to come and sign the squares.”

Rhonda said putting the quilt together was a fun part.

“I was so surprised to see everyone involved. Seeing his signatures, drawings filled me with joy. It showed me how often people love and support Shepherd.”

Frances Marshall, reference and special collections librarian for Shepherd, said, β€œIt is an incredible work [of art] and a lot of work. I am so proud of what she did with this idea to create a quilt where everyone can sign it. This quilt is not an only part of the library but a part of the history of Shepherd University.”

Fatoumata Conteh, an international student, said about the quilt β€œI have never seen a quilt like this. It is impressive. There are so many beautiful pieces of artwork. I can say it is a genius idea because future generations will know how much people love Shepherd University and can be inspired by it.”

The quilt will one day become part of Scarborough Library’s special collections and archives, where future generations of students, faculty and staff will be able to view it.

Donaldson previously created a Ram’s Head quilt commemorating the college’s mascot in the college colors of blue and yellow with a white background. That queen-sized quilt now hangs in the library’s reading room. But this latest quilt is the most personal.

You can view the quilt during Scarborough Library’s regular hours, Monday to Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,  Saturday, 10 a.m. t0 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 11 p.m. Read more about the quilt here

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