After one winds down the spiral staircase of Wilson Commons, there it is in front of the Common Market – the Ruth Merrill Center.

We know it as a meeting area for the Students’ Association and other campus groups.

Why Ruth Merrill?

Is she another one of those UR patrons who donated large amounts of money just to have her name engraved onto the back of a chair?

Ruth Merrill was director of the Cutler Union from 1933 to 1954, former Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities Robert Rouzer said.

The Cutler Union was the student common area in UR’s former Women’s College, harkening back to the time when the university was separated into a Men’s College and a Women’s College.

“The Eastman School of Music included the Cutler Union as the student union for a period of time, until it was incorporated into the [Memorial Art Gallery] facility in the recent expansion of the Memorial Art Gallery,” Rouzer said.

Merrill was a dedicated faculty member during the Great Depression, assisting students with financial problems.

She formed programs by which students could minimize their college costs, allowing women to complete their educations.

After the Women’s College moved to the River Campus from the Prince Street campus in 1955, Ruth Merrill was named Dean of Women.

Because of the important role she played in the lives of women, it is no surprise that her name continues to live on today.

And what better place to honor her than in the field she represented – the student union?



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