A new mural decorated in the art of two famous Kent State University alumni debuts to students Monday after they return from spring break.
"The Nest" lounge is lined with a mural created by Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean comic strip creators Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers.
Ayers, class of 1971, partnered with friend and colleage Batiuk, author of the comic strip Funky Winkerbean and fellow Kent State alumnus, to create the mural depicting the college student experience from acceptance to graduation.
The university will dedicate it on the 40th anniversary of the debut of Funky Winkerbean on Tuesday, March 27, from noon to 2 p.m. during the official opening of the new student lounge.
Timeka Rashid, director of the Center for Student Involvement at Kent State, approached Batiuk and Ayers with the idea of putting their characters in a mural to give the lounge a sense of alumni pride.
Batiuk graduated from Kent State in 1969 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a certificate in education, and became a junior high school teacher. His teaching experiences inspired him to create the Funky Winkerbean comic strip that chronicles the lives of a group of students from the fictitious Westview High School. The comic strip is syndicated internationally to about 600 newspapers and has a fan base of about 50 million.
Ayers graduated from Kent State in 1971 with a degree in graphic design and worked as an artist at the Akron Beacon Journal for more than 25 years. He served as the paper’s editorial cartoonist for 13 years, and also taught cartooning for several years at Kent State and the University of Akron. Ayers began working on the Crankshaft comic strip with Batiuk in 1987.