Utah Valley University (UVU) has witnessed substantial growth since its modest start in 1941. What began as a vocational school during World War II is today the largest university in the state of Utah. To coincide with its 75th anniversary in November 2016, UVU unveiled an ambitious public art project of extraordinary proportions: Roots of Knowledge.


Roots of Knowledge is a story of human achievement and the pursuit of learning through time. The roots and branches that weave through each column signify the interdependence of the human family. “The Tree of Knowledge” in column A marks the beginning of time and invites us to reflect upon our origins. Concluding the work in column Z, “The Tree of Hope for Humanity” calls us to conscientiously shape the world of which we dream.

The panes of vibrantly- colored glass represent Holdman Studios’ interpretation of the history of knowledge, including major inventions such as the printing press; important figures such as Joan of Arc and the Kangxi Emperor; major world events, such as Scotland’s Declaration of Arbroath and the American Civil Rights Movement; and thousands of other historical figures, tools, and events. Altogether, Roots of Knowledge incorporates thousands of pieces of glass, as well as actual rock, fossils, coins, meteorite, petrified wood, and coral.


Holdman Studios created Roots of Knowledge in collaboration with Utah Valley University, under the direction of former university president Matthew Holland. The privately -funded project spanned twelve years from conception to completion, with four years of active construction. The final installation in the Fulton Library spans 154 feet, with 80 windows and more than 40,000 pieces of stained glass.


We welcome all visitors to engage with this space through ongoing dialogue and compassionate curiosity. Though this artwork is unchanging, the discourse around it is ever evolving. We encourage the diversity of perspectives necessary for interpreting this work and its impact; understanding our rich and complicated past is essential to building a hopeful future.



“With a commitment to student success at UVU, Roots of Knowledge awakens curiosity, facilitates education, and inspires investment in the story of humanity. We are ever evolving to meet the needs of our community by enabling dialogue and community connection.” 


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Utah Valley University acknowledges that we gather on land sacred to all Indigenous people who came before us in this vast crossroads region. The University is committed to working in partnership—as enacted through education and community activities—with Utah’s Native Nations comprising the San Juan Southern Paiute, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Uintah & Ouray Reservation of the Northern Ute, Skull Valley Goshute, Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute-White Mesa Community, and urban Indian communities. We recognize these Native Nations and their continued connections with traditional homelands, mountains, rivers, and lakes as well as their sovereign relationships with state and federal governments. We honor their collective memory and continued physical and spiritual presence. We reverence their resilience and example in preserving their connections to the Creator and to all their relations, now and in the future.

Draft (11.1.2021)  
UVU Land Acknowledgment Committee