SUNY Cortland dedicated the small gallery room in the Ruth E. Dowd Fine Arts Center to an alumna and her late husband during a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 30.
Marjorie Bremiller Wheeler ’43, an artist and former student of Ruth E. Dowd, and Henry Adams Wheeler, who passed away in 2003, were recognized for their generosity to the College and their commitment to the arts. The Marjorie Bremiller Wheeler ’43 and Henry Adams Wheeler Gallery will showcase student art related to gallery exhibitions. It also will house educational material about exhibitions.
“Marjorie is a wonderful and enthusiastic person who loves people and their talents,” said Peter VanderWoude, the manager of planned gifts for the College. “She has led an interesting life and is known as a great teacher, community volunteer and philanthropist. Marjorie attributes much of her life’s success to her education at SUNY Cortland.”
Speakers for the event included College President Erik J. Bitterbaum, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Raymond D. Franco, College Council Member Walter E. Farnholtz and VanderWoude.
Follow Marjorie Bremiller Wheeler's lead by supporting The Cortland Fund. You can designate a gift for a program with personal significance. Or you can support the College’s mission to offer a transformational education for every student. Student callers have started making phone calls to explain how your gift can improve campus life. Make your gift today.
Founded in 1967, the Dowd Fine Arts Center serves the public and SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff with a variety of programs that reflect the diversity of its audiences. The center’s programming includes contemporary and historical exhibitions, gallery talks, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, sandwich seminars, films and guided tours. Didactic labels, catalogues and brochures also further the educational mission of the gallery.
For many years, the Wheelers helped local students near their Rhinebeck, N.Y. home foster a love for education and the arts. Marjorie, herself, specialized in watercolor paintings. She came to SUNY Cortland from Earlville, N.Y. and studied under Dowd, although she majored in physical education at the College.
Following a three-year stint as a physical education teacher in Mexico, N.Y., Marjorie changed careers and opened a women’s clothing store in Rhinebeck. The clothing store flourished during her 15-year ownership, as customers traveled there from New York City and fashion magazine staffs invited her to attend fashion shows in Paris.
Marjorie returned to teaching in 1964 after she obtained a master’s degree in art education from SUNY New Paltz. She taught art and supervised student teachers for two decades in the Rhinebeck Central School District.
She married Henry, a fellow teacher and a respected mediator, social worker and dairy farmer, in 1970. The couple taught overseas in the International School in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1970 to 1972 and accumulated several pieces of Pakistani art during their travel. Marjorie gave SUNY Cortland six of the paintings in 2005 and an exquisite Pakistani tapestry in 2008.
A volunteer for several not-for-profit organizations in her hometown, the Rhinebeck Rotary Club honored Marjorie for her “service above self” with its Citizens Recognition Award in 2009.
She resides in Rhinebeck.