David Ahlsted, professor emeritus of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, taught at the school from 1976 to 2008.

Ahlsted is a recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. His paintings hang at the New Jersey Statehouse and Rutgers University and in such permanent collections as the Aldrich Museum and the Pew Charitable Trust. He said his important experiences at Stockton include meeting his wife, Phyllis, who was director of the college media center. They recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.

"When I arrived at Stockton in 1976, it was a new college without a tradition in the visual arts. Working with my colleagues, we established a sequence of courses leading to a structured curriculum," he said.

Ahlsted said it is satisfying "knowing you helped create a successful college program that has been rewarding to so many students."

The new Campus Center, intended to serve as a focal point for the growing college, features four large paintings that Ahlsted created to reflect the New Jersey Pine Barrens, which are such a part of the college's environment.

The four 6.5-foot-by-24-foot paintings depict the four seasons as seen near pinelands waterways and each features indigenous plants. The photos to the right show the development of one of the paintings, a fall scene, over two years in Ahlsted's Galloway Township studio.