Dickinson College’s Stained-Glass

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Dennis Akin’s beautiful stained-glass windows that spot the Dickinson campus deserve admiration. Many Dickinson students and Carlisle residents are not aware of the art around them—they have grown accustomed to their surroundings.

Akin’s stained-glass installations are featured on 7 Dickinson buildings: East College, Bosler, Stern, Weiss, Asbell Center, Montgomery House, and the Kline Athletic Center.

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Akin (shown above), a Dickinson Art and Art History Professor, was given his first stained-glass piece commission in 1981. He learned how to create stained-glass works at the Pilchuck Glass School in Pilchuck, Washington during a sabbatical. Over the course of Akin’s career he created over 20 stained glass works for Dickinson. In subject matter, they range from the Lion of Judah to Hamlet.

Tony Moore’s article, “Captured in Glass,” from page 9 of the Fall 2013 issue of Dickinson Magazine provides a concise account of Akin’s stained-glass work on Dickinson’s campus. There are two works that Akin cites as personally significant. The first is the three-piece (or triptych) window in the upstairs sanctuary of the Asbell Center depicting biblical images and the other is the large window in Bosler that features rising hummingbirds. The window in Bosler memorializes Dickinson students that were met with tragedy, in particular one of Akin’s students that died of cancer. For Akin, the hummingbirds symbolize rejuvenation and resurrection.

6 small photos of Akin’s stained-glass works accompany Moore’s article. The photos give a bite-sized sampling of Akin’s work, but in order to fully appreciate them one must experience them in person. Some of Akin’s stained-glass pieces lie behind locked doors and can only be viewed from the outside, but others are able to be seen up-close. So, in the next few days, pause for a minute when the sun is shining brightly and take in some of Akin’s pieces. Take it upon yourself to scale campus and find all 25 windows. You won’t be sorry.

[In addition to Akin’s work on Dickinson’s Campus, a plethora of amazing stained-glass windows can be found in Carlisle churches, such as:  St. John’s Episcopal Church, First Lutheran Church, and First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle.]

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One comment

  1. Thank you for calling attention to these works of art! Growing up Catholic, I always admired the stained glass windows in my town’s church, so when I first started to notice it around Dickinson’s campus it made me feel a bit more at home. However, I never thought to look into who created these beautiful windows, I kind of assumed they had always been there, so to learn a Dickinson professor created them makes them all the more special!

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