Cato Teaching Discovery Mural salutes great teachers, to serve as educational tool

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

University leaders formally dedicated the Cato Teaching Discovery Mural during a special ceremony Monday, April 22.

Located near the College of Education, this dramatic, brick-carved mural depicts important events in Charlotte and North Carolina history and culture on eight panels that rise eight feet in height. It also recognizes outstanding educators and will serve as a learning tool for teachers, students and the public who visit the University campus.

“The Cato Teaching Discovery Mural honors educators everywhere; certainly those with ties to UNC Charlotte, but also those elsewhere who have touched the lives of students in other institutions, and in other states, cities and towns,” said Chancellor Philip L Dubois. “It also honors anyone who has been a great teacher who, maybe, taught life’s lessons over and over outside the boundaries of a classroom or a professional title. That’s why I chose to honor my late mother as part of the mural. Personally, I think she did a pretty good job.”

Built with a generous gift from John Cato, a 1973 graduate of UNC Charlotte,  and the Cato Corporation, the mural will be a permanent site for discovery and learning for classroom students, as well as the greater community, noted Dubois.

The mural includes more than 375 square feet of carvings that reside on four large stone monuments in abstract shapes. Historical and cultural information about North Carolina and the region are featured through hundreds of images including the founding of the state and the Charlotte region, discovery of gold, key people and events related to education, notable acts in the pursuit of freedom, traditional arts and entertainment in the state, a salute to classroom teachers, historical and current areas of state and regional commerce and a collage of state sights and symbols.

“The mural is the centerpiece for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the College of Education at UNC Charlotte, originally established as the College of Human Development and Learning in 1970-71,” said College of Education Dean Mary Lynne Calhoun. “It recognizes UNC Charlotte’s historic commitment to the preparation of outstanding educators.  As visitors discover elements of the sculpted brick mural, they will find an image of our University’s founder Miss Bonnie Cone – who began her professional life as a teacher of high school mathematics. It seems appropriate that UNC Charlotte was founded by a teacher.”

The mural sculptor, Mara Smith, is an internationally renowned artist whose works can be seen in 20 states in the United States and abroad.