The Murals in the Barton Warnock Science Building
In May of 1963, two large murals that required 25 pounds of oil based paints each were completed by Bob Larson. Measuring a staggering 10 feet high by 40 feet long, Larson began working on them in 1961 during his freshman year. He worked closely with Dr. Barton Warnock, Biology Department Head, to ensure that the flora and fauna depicted in the murals were accurate for the Big Bend area.
Larson, who enrolled at Sul Ross at the age of 40, had been working with artistic and cultural projects, including museum and park development, historical reconstruction, and execution of mural paintings in public and private buildings. From 1957 to 1961 he served as both park manager and museum director at the Monahans Sandhills State Park, and while there met Sul Ross State College President, Dr. Bryan Wildenthal. Upon their arrival in Alpine in 1961, Bob, wife Mary and daughter Kara Ingrid quickly became a part of the Sul Ross community. Bob worked as the Dormitory Director and Cafeteria Supervisor, while Mary worked in the cafeteria and enrolled in classes. The Larson’s must have made a striking couple on campus as he stood at 6 feet 9 inches and she was a petite 5 feet 1 ¾ inches! By the fall of 1963, the Larson’s announced they were moving to Springfield, Illinois where he would be designing large background native habitat murals for the new Illinois State Museum. However excited Larson was about this opportunity he said, “We certainly hate to leave Sul Ross and Texas. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my academic work at the college…”