Jac Kephart’s lasting impact

Jac Kephart’s lasting impact

A $1 million gift to the Colorado Mesa University Department of Art & Design will open new doors for students studying those disciplines. The generous gift was given by Jac Kephart’s widow, Pat. 

In spring 2021, the fine arts building was officially named the Jac Kephart Fine Arts Building in honor of the gift. Kephart, a CMU alumnus and the owner of Jac’s House of Flowers in Grand Junction, had long been involved in the campus.

He originally attended what was then Mesa College as an architecture student, but he gravitated to the world of art. A tireless businessman as well as an artist, Kephart grew his floral shop by day and tended to his art by night. His works are strategically placed across the CMU campus including the new Hotel Maverick. 

Kephart’s subjects range from still life portraits to landscapes to eye-catching metallic abstracts. 

The full scale of Kephart’s contributions, however, remains to take full shape.

The $1 million Kephart endowment, announced on March 25 will be used to support the Department of Art & Design and its students. The Art & Design Department needs new equipment and there always is a demand for faculty sabbaticals and visiting professors, the latter being something the department has not yet been able to afford, said Suzie Garner, head of the Department of Art & Design.

The inscription of Kephart’s words on a plaque in the fine arts building is certainly appropriate: “I haven’t been able to put an end to the goal,” Kephart wrote. “The goal is always resetting itself. It is a built-in ladder that keeps climbing above me that says, ‘You can do better than that. You can do better than that.’ So you just keep after it. It’s been that way as long as I can remember.”

This gift, in his honor, will provide the support necessary for students to keep climbing.