9. Wesley Waage Portrait

Artist: Scott Gunvaldson

Wesley Waage Portrait

When planning began for the 50th anniversary of the college’s 1960 founding, alumni of the college’s first graduating class gathered to consider their class’s contribution to the upcoming anniversary celebration.

The consensus was that they wanted a portrait of Wesley A. Waage, the first president of the college and the man that the Waage Fine Arts Center is named after. Local artist and M State alumnus Scott Gunvaldson was asked to paint the portrait.

With a memory of how Fergus Falls Community College looked during its early years – there was only the Science Building and the student activities center on the campus – Gunvaldson painted Waage with the fledgling college in the background. The pillars which came to symbolize the college are prominently displayed.

Waage, who joined the administration at FFCC when it held its classes at the local junior high school, had a vision for FFCC to be the best liberal arts transfer college in Minnesota, and thus the creation of strong programs for arts and athletics. Waage retired from the college in 1983 and died in 1985.

The portrait was unveiled in 2010 during the weekend of the 50th anniversary celebration, which was attended by Waage’s wife, Muriel, and four of their five children.

The plaque next to Waage’s portrait reads:

Wesley A. Waage led this college from its beginning to a position as a highly respected teaching institution in west central Minnesota. He guided the college through four separate locations to its present campus. Under his leadership, the college established a reputation for excellence in transfer education and career education programs.

His determined ambition was to bring academic distinction to this college and to position the college as a cultural hub for the area. Music, theater and the visual arts flourished on the campus, and he rarely missed a show. Athletic programs thrived as well, providing opportunities to students and subsequently to thousands of community members who became proud Spartan fans.