The painting took more than a year to create. The story behind the painting took much longer.

As a student, Robert S. Jepson, Jr., B’64, GB’75, H’87, served in leadership roles on campus. He wrote opinion pieces for the school’s newspaper on the importance of good leadership. He did not major in leadership studies at Richmond. No one did.

That was three decades before the nation’s first undergraduate school of leadership studies opened its doors.

But his experiences sparked an idea that would change the University of Richmond and ultimately higher education. As an adult and visionary entrepreneur, he saw a need to offer the next generation of leaders a formal education in leadership studies and ethics.

He approached his alma mater with the idea—along with a generous gift from his family—and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies opened in 1992.  

The School recently celebrated 20 years.

“To honor Mr. Jepson and his wife, Alice, I thought it would be appropriate to commission a portrait of them to hang in Jepson Hall,” says Dean Sandra Peart.

The School unveiled the portrait this spring during Reunion Weekend.

“Their vision and generosity has enabled us to teach more than 1,000 alumni who are now in all fields making the world a better place, leading ethically, leading with vision and leading well,” Peart said during the ceremony. “It was only fitting that we honor them in this way.”

During the President’s Breakfast, Peart also presented them with the Jepson School Award for Leadership and Service. The award honors leaders who have taken an active role in community life and set an example for others.

“The journey to this podium began almost 55 years ago when Alice and I were enrolled as college freshman,” Jepson said during the unveiling ceremony. “Alice attended Mary Washington and I was fortunate to find a seat here at the University of Richmond. For both of us, our college years were truly formative in many different ways. Importantly for both of us, we learned the value of gratitude and the importance of helping others.”

He hopes those who view the portrait will see it as more than a painting of two people.

“If this portrait is an indication of anything, it is my hope that it will be seen as a beacon for young people to reinforce the idea that those two words—gratitude and generosity—not only go together, but actually have the power to change lives, many lives, in a meaningful and substantive way.”


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The painting was created by local artist Loryn Brazier. See her gallery.


Brazier Photographing Robert and Alice Jepson

Artist Loryn Brazier with Robert and Alice Jepson

Preparing Jepson Hall for the Portrait

Peparing Jepson Hall for the Portrait

Robert S. Jepson, Jr. and Alice Andrews Jepson with Class of '64 Alumni

Robert and Alice Jepson and Class of 64 Alumni


Video of the Portrait Unveiling Ceremony