DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Public art project under Fullerton ‘L’ stop honors DePaul University’s 125-year history

Public art project under Fullerton ‘L’ stop honors DePaul University’s 125-year history

Twenty-five murals memorialize key figures and moments since 1898

Brother Mark Elder leans against a pillar that shows Rev. Francis Xavier McCabe, C.M.
Brother Mark Elder, C.M., stands beside his mural of Rev. Francis Xavier McCabe, C.M., DePaul’s third president. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

The grand completion of a multi-year public art project will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 15, with a dedication of 25 murals that wrap gray pillars supporting the Chicago Transit Authority's Fullerton "L" station with colorful, 10-foot-tall paintings representing the history of DePaul University.

The public ceremony for "The Story of 'The Little School Under the "L" ' — Under the 'L' " will take place at 10:30 a.m. by the pillars, located adjacent to DePaul's Cacciatore Stadium and Wish Field.

Some of the prominent DePaul figures depicted in the murals will attend the ceremony, including women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno and Olympic track athlete Mabel “Dolly” Landry Staton. The dedication is open to the DePaul and Lincoln Park communities as part of the university's Alumni and Family Weekend.

A vision of muralist Brother Mark Elder, C.M., a faculty member in DePaul’s Art School, the project began in 2016 and was completed this summer. It celebrates key figures and moments in the university’s 125-year history, including groundbreaking people such as men's basketball coach Ray Meyer, basketball Hall of Famer George Mikan, and Chicago’s first archbishop, Patrick A. Feehan. A beginning mural discusses the project, and an “End of Trail” mural honors those who contributed to the project.

The project's completion after more than seven years coincides with the university’s year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary.

“I hope folks viewing these murals will take the time to realize what a special place DePaul is,” Elder says. “Our university’s history is filled with individuals who fought for justice, were pioneers in their field and broke barriers. It’s also filled with moments that helped shape a neighborhood school under the ‘L’ into what we are today. These murals cover just a portion of DePaul’s history, but I hope they will help memorialize these moments for the next generation of Blue Demons who will one day fight for justice, become pioneers in their field and break barriers.”

Each year, Elder’s process from ideation to installation of the murals took as long as 10 months. He finalized the mural concepts in late fall, laid out and drew the murals during the winter and worked with DePaul art students in his “Creating Murals” spring-quarter class to paint and prepare them to be moved under the "L" tracks. A small group of students and alumni then joined Elder each summer for installation, where their hands-on work included some final painting, preparing the canvases and applying the murals carefully onto the pillars for drying.

The murals are wrapped around the support pillars for the "L" tracks, and they measure on average about 10 feet tall and 8 feet in circumference. They are painted on non-woven polytab (parachute) material and installed like wallpaper. Each also includes a description of that mural’s theme.

Amy Kellenberger, a 2015 DePaul honors graduate with a degree in the history of art and architecture, assisted Elder with installation after graduating.

“Brother Mark’s determination and creativity are unparalleled. He beautified plain pillars underneath ‘L’ tracks with a celebration of DePaul and all that it represents,” she says. “It is a true community project.”

For Elder, the murals project is a prime example of the benefit of public art.

“When a group comes together and decides what’s important to them and celebrates that common ground with something like a public art project, everyone benefits,” he says.

“The Story of ‘The Little School Under the "L" ' — Under the 'L' " Timeline

The following list details the theme of each mural that appears on a pillar under the Fullerton "L" station. Some of the people who appear in the murals also are among the 125 Faces of DePaul — an initiative honoring DePaul’s trailblazers in celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary.


  • Benjamin Hooks: Civil rights activist and first African American criminal court judge in Tennessee history. A 1948 DePaul alumnus, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
  • Ray Meyer: Legendary DePaul men’s basketball coach.
  • Mabel “Dolly” Landry Staton: DePaul alumna and track Olympian.
  • Minnie Daly, Sr. Mary Teresita Frawley, S.P., and Sr. Mary Clemenza Leahy, B.V.M.: Daly was the first laywoman to graduate from DePaul, while Frawley and Leahy were the first two nuns to graduate, in 1912.
  • Beginning mural: An overview of the multi-year public art project.


  • Rev. Francis Xavier McCabe, C.M.: DePaul’s third president, who admitted female students for the first time and played a key role in keeping the university open during World War I.
  • Marion Amoureux and Rose Vaughan: The first African American graduates from DePaul, in 1943 and 1944, respectively.
  • Sheffield Neighborhood Association: Local organization started in 1959 — and still active today — that helped improve living conditions for DePaul students in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
  • Joe Wilhoit: Multi-sport star at DePaul, who became the university’s only Major League Baseball player. He was part of the DePaul football team that earned the nickname “D-Men,” which led to the current nickname “Blue Demons.”


  • George Mikan: A 1946 DePaul alumnus and Blue Demon basketball star, he was a four-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion and five-time champion in the National Basketball Association, eventually earning induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.
  • DePaul’s collegiate football program: Competed from 1898 to 1938, playing most home games on a field located on West Belden Avenue, near the university’s Lincoln Park Campus, as well as Soldier Field and Wrigley Field for select contests.
  • 64 E. Lake Building: Built in 1928 to serve as the first home of the university’s new Loop Campus before moving to East Jackson Boulevard in 1955. The Loop Campus helped DePaul serve Chicagoans who wanted to attend college and maintain a full-time job in the city.
  • The Black Student Union: The first organization for people of color at DePaul, it was created during the civil rights movement to help raise awareness of Black culture and Black issues on campus.


  • The CTA: Connects the university’s Lincoln Park and Loop campuses via the Red and Brown "L" lines. The Fullerton "L" stop was built in 1900, just two years after DePaul’s founding in 1898.
  • Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M., and Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M.: The university’s eighth and ninth presidents, respectively; Cortelyou served from 1964 to 1981, while Richardson served from 1981 to 1993. Both tenures were times of monumental growth at the university.
  • The 1979 men’s basketball team: Went 26-6 overall and reached the Final Four for the second time. Coached by Ray Meyer, the squad featured future NBA player Mark Aguirre. The team opened the nation’s eyes to the university under the "L."
  • The DePaul “Victory Song”: Written in 1930 by Arthur C. Becker, the founding dean of the School of Music, and faculty member J. Leo Sullivan, the “Victory Song” served as the university’s first official fight song throughout the 1930s. It was later revived and has served as the official fight song since 1965. The mural also honors Becker's service as dean of the School of Music from its founding in 1918 to 1966.


  • Women’s Athletics: Celebrating Title IX and the efforts of DePaul alumni and Hall of Famers Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto and Doug Bruno.


  • Diversity: A core tenant of DePaul’s mission going back to 1898.
  • The Daughters of Charity: A Chicago presence since 1858; opened St. Vincent DePaul Center on Halsted Street in 1915.
  • Veterans: DePaul community members have served the U.S. since World War I.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: Honoring the university community’s resilience during the pandemic.


  • Patrick A. Feehan: The first archbishop of Chicago, who asked the Vincentians to open St. Vincent’s College in 1898. St. Vincent’s College became DePaul University in 1907.
  • Computers: Honoring the effect computers have had on education. Also honors DePaul’s Department of Computer Science, founded in 1981, which has grown into The Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media. Additionally, the mural recognizes former DePaul president Rev. John P. Minogue, C.M., former deans and faculty who helped the college grow to what it is today.
  • End of Trail: Remembers the 100-plus students and DePaul community organizations and members who assisted in the murals project. It was designed by current DePaul student Tayvia Ridgeway, who has worked with Elder for four years.