Bertha V. Lederer, painting

Geneseo says farewell to arts legend Bertha V. Lederer

Bertha V. Lederer taught and helped lead a culture of the arts on the Geneseo campus for more than 35 years, inspiring curriculum changes.

A legendary figure in the history of the college, Bertha V. Lederer died Oct. 6. The longtime Geneseo resident was a distinguished service professor emerita of art and central in building the college's outstanding programs in the fine arts. She was 97.

"Bertha Lederer's influence on Geneseo's cultural life is woven into the fabric of our community and we are thankful for her countless contributions," said President Christopher C. Dahl. "My predecessors and I relished collaborating with Bert on a wide range of arts and cultural projects and greatly respected her insights and perseverance. We shall not see her like again."

Lederer received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Yale University in 1935 and master's degree from New York University in 1944. She did additional graduate work at New York University before coming to Geneseo in 1945.

During her career as a faculty member and administrator at Geneseo from 1945-1980, she served as chair of the division of fine arts, guided construction of what is now Brodie Hall and was appointed a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. Upon her retirement, the art gallery in Brodie Hall was named in her honor. The Geneseo Foundation presented her with a Meritorious Service Award in recognition of her outstanding efforts to promote the fine arts.

"Miss Lederer was a friend and colleague from 1956 and was profoundly dedicated to teaching art from elementary through college level," said Paul H. Hepler, professor emeritus of art at who served as chair of the art department for 27 years. "Her innovation with the ‘Introduction to the Arts' course at Geneseo was the only interdisciplinary course ever required for all degree candidates. Possessed of 19th-century values in discipline and education, she remained unchanged amid the mercurial education dogma of her time, and her loyalty to Geneseo students and the college was without equal."

Through her teaching and European tours, Lederer was a major influence on the lives and cultural development of several generations of Geneseo alumni, a commitment that continued long after she retired.

She was the founder of the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and was an active member in local, regional and national professional arts organizations. She served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Children in 1970. She also was active in the Association for the Preservation of Geneseo, which focuses on improving and restoring places of architectural and historic interest in Geneseo.

A service to honor Bertha V. Lederer will be held Saturday, Nov. 28, at 1 p.m. in St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 23 Main St., Geneseo. An on-campus memorial service will be held early in the spring semester.










Geology faculty's research is highlghted on national TV

Distinguished Service Professor Richard Young, of geological sciences, and colleagues are featured in an upcoming History Channel documentary that focuses on the Grand Canyon geological research they have been doing. They were filmed last summer.

The show, which is part of the "How the Earth was Made" series, airs Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9 p.m.





  • Congratulations to the Geneseo Blue Knights women’s soccer team, who won the State University of New York Athletic Conference title on Nov. 7. They defeated SUNY Cortland for the top spot. It is the team’s fourth overall title and its first title since 1994.

    The team played its first-round game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III national tournament Nov. 14 against Endicott College. Endicott won with penalty kicks, in a tied game.


  • The men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Conference Division III championships on Saturday, Nov. 21, after they finished second in their respective races at the Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships Nov. 21. SUNY Geneseo hosted the competition at Letchworth State Park.

  • SUNY Geneseo employees generously contributed $54,520 during this year's State Employee Federated Appeal (SEFA). Contributions help organizations locally and beyond achieve their missions to assist those in need.  Geneseo employees, in fact, gave more than $5,000 more than the goal of $49,000.

    "We are still in difficult financial times, so the fact that the campaign has done so well demonstrates the generous nature of the Geneseo college community," says Patty Hamilton-Rodgers, research and development specialist and 2009 SEFA campaign coordinator. "Most of the contributions stay right here in the area, supporting agencies that rely on our support to keep doing the work that helps so many."


Events Today...

  • A series of “Deliberative Dialogues” continues today, Nov. 18, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Milne 104 and Friday, Nov. 20, from 11 a.m. to noon in Milne 104. The topic is "General Education and the Geneseo Experience.” Register to participate by e-mailing and indicate the date you wish to attend.

  • Today through Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m., the musical “The Pirates of Penzance” will be performed in the Alice Austin Theatre. Admission is $10 for the public, $9 for faculty and $8 for students. The event is sponsored by the Geneseo Student Association. Tickets are available at the Brodie Box Office
    • On Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Hillel association will celebrate Jewish culture in the MOSAIC room in the College Union. There will be informative posters, games, the art of challah covers, menorah making and decorating, and Israeli dance instruction from 6 to 7 p.m. Light Israeli food will be served. The event is free. Visitors are asked to bring a canned good that will be donated to a Geneseo food pantry.

Upcoming Events...
  • On Saturday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., the Geneseo Chinese Culture Club celebrates China Night with food and entertainment. Tickets are on sale in the College Union lobby. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $6 for culture club members and $8 for non-members.

  • On Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., GENseng, Geneseo’s Asian American Performance Ensemble, will perform “A Nanking Winter” by Marjorie Chan in the Robert Sinclair Theater. Tickets and price information are available at the Brodie Box Office.




Photo of the week ... Have you taken a photo of campus or a picture that helps tell the story of the Geneseo experience? Send your snapshots to

The College Communications staff got a tip on a bright berry-filled tree outside of South Hall and our photographers were inspired to capture other images of late fall color on campus. Enjoy more pictures that highlight color on campus throughout the gallery. And thanks to our tipster, who did not leave their name.













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November 18, 2009

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