Eugene Kormendi studied at the Academy of Budapest, then traveled to Paris to work with Auguste Rodin and Jean Paul Lorenz. In 1939 he visited America for the New York World’s Fair with his wife, Elizabeth, a painter and ceramist. During their tour, World War II broke out in eastern Europe and they were unable to return home. Eugene found a position as sculptor-in-residence at Notre Dame University that allowed them to stay in the United States. He created many statues while at the university, including a war memorial in Valparaiso, Indiana, and a twenty-two foot-statue depicting Christ as the “Light of the World” for the National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington D.C.