Campus Sculpture Honors Waltons for International Scholar Program

By Tarah Thomas ’16
Sunday, October 9, 2016

Angel of VisionThe paths from Walker Student Center, Walton Lifetime Health Complex and Bell Science Hall now converge at the newly-installed “Angel of Vision” sculpture on the central sidewalk promenade.

During Homecoming, alumni and students from around the world gathered to unveil the abstract sculpture in gratitude to Sam and Helen Walton for the Walton International Scholarship Program (WISP).

JBU Walton Scholar board member Alfonso Méndez ’88 collaborated with fellow WISP alumni Fryda Guerrero ’91 and Christy Andrino ’89 to bring the sculpture to JBU to serve as a physical reminder of the lasting impact of the Walton family and the program.

Created by internationally-known artist José “Pepo” Toledo, the sculpture is part of his six-piece collection, “Angels.” Born and raised in Guatemala City, Toledo envisioned his collection as a symbol of peace to other countries on behalf of Guatemala. Other Angel sculptures are located in Washington, D.C.; Guatemala City; Germany and El Salvador.

The Walton family launched the WISP program in 1985 to encourage bright Central American and Mexican students to study in the U.S. and learn the principles of democracy and free enterprise.

Every year WISP awards 60 students a full-ride scholarship to attend one of three Arkansas institutions: John Brown University, University of the Ozarks or Harding University. In exchange, students commit to return to their home countries for four years after graduation to make a difference in their local communities.

In the 30 years since its inception, JBU has graduated over 400 Walton scholars.

“The Walton family has gifted hundreds of students with an education, and now the JBU Walton Scholar alumni have gifted the sculpture in appreciation for how the program can change lives,” said Ron Johnson, JBU’s Walton Scholarship Program director.

In front of the sculpture sits a plaque that includes a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas. “An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of a man by strengthening the power of vision.”

That vision is now Sam and Helen Walton’s legacy.

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