Princeton University portraits give campus workers the spotlight

Paintings highlight Princeton workers
Paintings highlight Princeton workers 02:54

Princeton, New Jersey — The halls of many colleges and universities display paintings of school presidents, donors and famous alumni. But at Princeton University, a gallery of portraits presents campus workers in a whole new light.

On campus, the most popular man may be Howard Sutphin in dining, who is also a staple at Princeton games. But now he's off the sidelines and center stage, in portraits of campus workers by visiting art fellow Mario Moore.

"These people are some of the most important people on campuses that deserve to be seen and seen on the same walls in the same way as these figures historically have been seen at institutions," Moore said.

Graduate James Madison and Princeton presidents are now joined by Guy Packwood, a Princeton security guard and Garfield Brown, a groundskeeper. Joining Sutphin from dining is Kaneisha Young and Valeria Sykes.

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Artist Mario Moore painted portraits of campus workers at Princeton University, including Howard Sutphin, Kaneisha Young and Valeria Sykes. CBS News

"The majority of the people that you see in dining and facilities are African-Americans. For me as a student, these are people that I connected with," Moore said.

Moore said he's creating a legacy for people who are often in the background.

"I think it was really important for it to be at Princeton, because of the history of Princeton," Moore said.

That history includes slaves who worked on campus at the president's house for decades and Woodrow Wilson, who blocked black student enrollment as Princeton's president and oversaw segregationist policies as U.S. president. The portraits are working to create a new legacy.

"That's going to be here after I retire, cause the school has purchased it," Sutphin said of his portrait. "All the years, I gave love. I got it back in that."

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    Adriana Diaz is a CBS News correspondent based in Chicago.