Portrait of Eugene Perry


Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Visual Work of Art
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
Portrait of Eugene Perry
Background and Context
The portrait was commissioned to honor Eugene Perry, the first Black student at graduate from Elon. Perry, a native of Burlington, NC, enrolled at Elon in the fall of 1965 and graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Science/Secondary Education. The portrait was unveiled on February 23, 2016, during a special ceremony of the weekly Elon tradition College Coffee. The artist was Michael Del Priore (1954-2020), and American master portrait artist best known for oil and pastel portraits in the Classical Realism style. A native of South Carolina, Del Priore painted more than 850 portraits in his 40-plus year career. His works can be found in many state capitals, state supreme courts, universities, banks, hospitals, board rooms and private collections. Del Priore studied at the National Academy in New York. With a background in illustration work and further studies with nationally acclaimed artists, Del Priore boasted a solid portraiture foundation. He taught at the University of South Carolina and the Columbia Museum of Art and lectured and demonstrated his art to civic groups at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and Palette and Chisel in Chicago. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Portrait Artists and was a member of the Artists Fellowship Society of New York. He served as executive director of the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center in downtown Williamston, S.C. The portrait is located in the Moseley Center.
Physical Description
Oil on canvas, 27 in w x 31 in h
Memorial Inscription
Eugene E. Perry '69 Eugene Perry made history in 1969 as Elon's first Black graduate. He was a high-performing student at the all-Black Jordan Sellars High School in Burlington, North Carolina, which earned him an Elon scholarship. He enrolled in fall 1965 with a strong academic focus and a determination to graduate. Perry said life at Elon wasn't always easy and that he was never embraced by the student body. He found involvement through his membership in the marching band. After completing his degree in social science at Elon, Perry went on to earn two master's degrees and had a varied career that included service as a Navy chaplain, teacher and drug counselor.
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Priore, Michael Del
Date created, installed or dedicated
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 95 (9 views)