When Gilbert Bandarra ’53 was in his 90s, he walked into an art class at his local Council on Aging and got hooked on painting. This newfound hobby provided the retired science teacher with a way to express his love of the natural world, often drawing inspiration from trees, water and the sun.

There was one painting, however, that was most meaningful to Bandarra, who died in 2021. “It was of a lighthouse. When he was in junior high school, he would stare out the window during math class at this lighthouse across the way in the harbor,” explains Diane Aberle, Bandarra’s daughter. “He considered that painting his very best work.”

Last week, Aberle traveled from New York to donate her father’s lighthouse painting to the College. “My dad attributed everything good that happened in his life to Stonehill, so he wanted it to be here,” she says.

A graduate of Stonehill’s second class, Bandarra attended the College on the GI Bill to study biology and chemistry. In a profile for the Stonehill Alumni Magazine in 2020, Bandarra said, “Even when I was young, I was curious. But it wasn’t really supported until I got to Stonehill.”

Bandarra’s painting will be on display in the Merkert-Tracy building, where Bandarra took his science courses as a student.

Learn more about Bandarra's painting hobby

In the summer/fall 2020 issue of Stonehill Alumni Magazine, we profiled Bandarra and why he chose to paint.