During her lifetime, New Paltz resident Susan Wisherd was an active supporter of several Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations, including the Elting Memorial Library, Mohonk Preserve, Omega Institute, SUNY New Paltz’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and Sojourner Truth Library, Unison Arts Center, and Women’s Studio Workshop. After her death in 2017, through her long-term vision and legacy estate planning, her bequests will continue to sustain and advance these organizations for the benefit of the greater community.
Susan Wisherd was professor emerita and the former chair of the Department of Art Education at SUNY New Paltz, where she was remembered by colleagues as dedicated to her students and department.
While each of the organizations she supported will use their bequests in different ways, they all wished to join together to acknowledge Susan’s generosity and donor foresight in ensuring that these anchor institutions whose missions she saw as worthy will continue to thrive through her planned giving.
“We are delighted with Susan’s generous gift to the Elting Memorial Library. It is a kind and thoughtful investment in our community,” said Elting Memorial Library Board President Linda Welles. “Her generosity will help the Library further its mission of connecting people with the magic of books, discovery and learning.”
“Susan was a longtime Preserve member and supporter, and a near neighbor of the Mohonk Preserve Foothills,” said Mohonk Preserve President and CEO Glenn Hoagland. “Not long before her death, Preserve Board member Ron Knapp took her on a tour of the Foothills’ Testimonial Gateway Tower to view this magnificent historic and cultural landmark. We are very grateful for her generous gift which will help preserve the Foothills she loved in perpetuity.”
“We are tremendously grateful for this unexpected and generous gift from Susan Wisherd’s estate,” said Omega Institute Chief Executive Officer Robert “Skip” Backus. “It’s moving to know that Susan’s Omega experience had a lasting impact on her life, and heartening that her contribution will help to ensure Omega will continue to be available to welcome and support the seekers among us.”
“As a long-time supporter of the Dorsky Museum and of the arts at SUNY New Paltz, Susan clearly understood the importance of the arts in the lives of our community,” said Sara J. Pasti, the Neil C. Trager director of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. “Her contribution will help us to continue to serve both the College population and the Hudson Valley community, and further develop as a premier collegiate art museum in the northeast.”
“The Library is deeply grateful for this very timely gift from the estate of Susan Wisherd,” said W. Mark Colvson, Dean of the Sojourner Truth Library. “Private contributions such as this help us meet the rapidly growing need for resources today, and to develop exciting new ways to support learning at New Paltz, and in the wider Hudson Valley region, in years to come.”
“Susan Wisherd’s bequest to Unison Arts Center could not have been more timely for us, or any more wonderful,” said Unison Arts Center Executive Director Alexandra Baer. “Susan was a longtime member and supporter of Unison and her love of music, theatre and art are part of the legacy she is sustaining. We will be adding a plaque in her name to the “Notable Members” board at the entrance to Unison and will be keeping her memory alive by encouraging other members in the Hudson Valley community to support local nonprofits by creating legacy funds. All of those who were fortunate enough to be part of the bequest are excited to let the community know how deep her love was for the arts.”
“Susan’s life’s work was the training of art teachers and artists through her tenure at SUNY New Paltz,” said Women’s Studio Workshop Executive Director Lauren Walling. “Through her relationships with the university, she came to know the work of the Women’s Studio Workshop. Susan trained many artists and educators who later came to offer these same skills to the WSW community. Her generous bequest will be used to support artists and educators who shared the same commitments and values. This, we feel, is the best way to honor Susan’s legacy.”
Ms. Wisherd’s generosity also extended beyond the Hudson Valley with gifts to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, and to WNET Public Television in New York City.