Many alumni, including recent graduates, attended a vigil in memory of art department chair, Glenda Taylor, on Monday, June 8. The vigil was in front of the art department and anyone who wanted to share their memories of Taylor was allowed to speak.
Taylor was killed on Sunday, June 7 when she was hit by a pickup truck while cycling in Crawford County. In addition to her career at Washburn she was also an avid cyclist and a member of the Topeka Cyclist Community.
Flowers and candles placed in front of the art building, but many also chose to express their feelings on a poster board provided by the organizers of the vigil.
When first informed, students and faculty were shocked by the news of the incident.
“I talked to her [graduation] night on the way out and talked to her [graduation] morning, and couple of weeks later in the middle of the day you just get the news of what happened it was unexpected,” said Jordan Loomis, a recent Washburn graduate who studied sculpture in the art department. “It’s hard to process but we are doing what we can … that’s what she would [have] wanted us to do to do.”
During her career, Taylor advised many students in the art department and guided them toward their success.
“I met Glenda when I was freshman,” Loomis said. “She was my tour guide when I came to the art building. She brought about collage level expectation of sculpture work.
Loomis said she wasn’t fortunate enough to have a class with her, but Taylor was her go to person for sculpture advice. She said because of that, she was with her multiple times over the course of her college career.
In her free time, Taylor and her friends traveled to many places. Her most recent trip was to Peru with her friend Kelly Watt, an assistant professor of art history.
“She is one of the most exciting people I have ever known. She is ready for any new adventure and so Peru was a great chance to see her in her element hiking climbing,” Watt said.
Taylor was an active member in the art department. According to Watt, Taylor’s energy has reached all the at the art department. She was a source and encouragement for some and hope for others.
“She just exude happiness and enthusiasm, so I will always think of Glenda that way,” Watt said.