Portrait of a Lady: Kennan Painting Unveiled

Past President Elizabeth T. Kennan, in person and on canvas.

The official College portrait of former president Elizabeth T. Kennan was unveiled on Monday, January 15, in the fourth floor foyer of Williston Memorial Library overlooking the court. The painting was created in oils by Williamsburg painter and printmaker Sarah Belchetz-Swenson. Kennan is shown in her academic robes, accompanied by her miniature greyhound, Honor Bright.

Kennan, obviously pleased with the sprightly likeness, said that Belchetz-Swenson had "looked deep within her and captured not just the outside but also the inner woman." Then she quipped, "Thanks to all of you who put up with me for seventeen years. Now you'll have to put up with me for a lot longer!"

President Joanne Creighton remarked as she uncovered the new picture, "I can imagine generations of women coming through here and saying, 'Look at that interesting woman!'" Thanking Kennan on behalf of the College for her years of "wonderful dedication and leadership" as president, Creighton said of the painting, "Long may it reign in this spot."

Before painting the portrait, Belchetz-Swenson "shadowed" Kennan at work for several days to observe her characteristic gestures and stances, took photographs, and made oil sketches of her subject. Belchetz-Swenson spent about five months completing the work.

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