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Bower School, gallery benefit from Wasmer gift

Family pays tribute to matriarch’s love of art

Mary Wasmer has had a longstanding love affair with the arts. Her son, Martin Wasmer, has had a longstanding relationship with Florida Gulf Coast University. And therein lies our story.

In May 2017, Wasmer, together with his brother and sisters, honored his mother with a gift to FGCU in support of the visual arts programming and art galleries of the Bower School of Music & the Arts. In recognition of this gift, the main university art gallery has been renamed Wasmer Art Gallery.

Wasmer, CEO of Wasmer Schroeder & Company, an asset management firm, has been involved in one way or another with FGCU for many years, both as a loyal donor and member of the board of trustees of the Marieb Foundation.

Mary Wasmer

“Marty and his family are outstanding philanthropists,” said Christopher Simoneau, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FGCU Foundation. “This gift is a testament to the importance of the arts at the university. It allows us to create an endowment fund to support exhibitions in a perpetual way at the gallery.”

“Our family has always been philanthropic,” said Wasmer. “From a legacy point of view, I think of Ursuline College’s Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, which was named for my grandmother. With that as a reference, we felt it would be wonderful to honor our mother in a similar fashion.”

Mary Wasmer ran her own interior design firm – Mary Wasmer Interiors – in Cleveland for many years. “Our mother is multi-dimensional,” said Wasmer. “She’s not only into design, but she’s also an avid collector of fine arts and antique furniture. Before moving to Florida in 1988, she also served on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Art.”

John Loscuito, gallery director for the Bower School, said, “The arts are really one of the ways we can explore all the interconnections between who we are and what we do as humans. Artists make connections with the sciences, nature and philosophy, intersecting with all disciplines.”

And that is why the Wasmer gift is so important to the university. “The types of exhibitions and programming in our gallery are student focused,” said Loscuito. “They touch on the sciences, humanities and so much more, so we are engaging our students within the arts and other academic departments. The goal is to enhance the educational outcomes for all FGCU students and the public.

“The Wasmers’ gift will help us bring our exhibitions to a higher level and give us the ability to attract world-renowned artists and lecturers to enhance our programming.”

Wasmer said, “We wanted to do something for our mother, and we wanted to work with an institution that we are familiar with and comfortable with. To me, that’s a great advantage.”