A colorful mural that depicts the life and success of a Trine University alumnus and Santa Barbara resident was dedicated recently during homecoming festivities.
“Giving Back: From Birth Through Education to the End of Life” reflects the life of Dr. Clifford Sponsel, a 1931 graduate of Tri-State College who earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.
Sponsel, who celebrated his 102nd birthday in July, is credited with inventing the first in-car thermostat when he was employed by General Motors. The thermostat was sold to every car maker except Ford.
Consisting of 480 6-by-6-inch tiles, the artwork was designed by Sponsel’s wife, Dr. Juliette Cummins Sponsel, in the traditional seventh-century Spanish Cuerda Secca style.
The hand-glazed artwork in the Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center honors the Sponsels, who reside in Santa Barbara.
The 8-foot-by-15-foot mural highlights the Sponsels’ passions, philanthropic efforts, endless devotion to volunteerism and their story.
“Our students and alumni can see the impact this institution had on one person — and the impact he made on so many lives for so many years,” Trine University President Earl Brooks II, Ph.D., said during the dedication.
— Debbie Myers is a communications specialist for Trine University.