Mary and Fritz Wolfe — A lifelong commitment to the arts Mary Wolfe and her husband, Fritz, have always supported the things they believe in, and now the secret’s out at BGSU. Longtime donors to cultural institutions, the Perrysburg couple has a new arts center on campus named for them, thanks to a $1.5 million gift. Even more telling, Mary received the 2011 Governor’s Award for the Arts earlier this year, acknowledging her lifetime as an arts patron. “I believe in the arts in general as a non-political communication between people and even between nations,” she said. Mary has a master’s degree in art history and an honorary doctorate from BGSU, where she taught and ran the McFall Center Gallery. Over the years, she and her husband, who is known for his involvement in the health care industry, have contributed to the Toledo Symphony, Toledo Opera, Toledo Museum of Art, Valentine Theatre, the University of Toledo and elsewhere.
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A second, smaller performance space offers more flexible seating and stage arrangements. This black box, or experimental, Eva Marie Saint Theatre has 120 seats and is named for the Oscar-winning actress and 1946 BGSU graduate, taking the moniker from an older theater on campus. “This is professional, industry-standard theater space,” said Morgan-Russell. “When these students graduate, if they go to work in professional theater, the facilities at BGSU might well surpass their workplaces.” Mary Wolfe pointed out that the student work here will benefit the public too. “The quality of what they’ll be able to do there is so exceptional,” she said. “They will be having lots of concerts and performances that will be available to the whole community. We’re very excited, and we’re extremely pleased.” She noted another much-needed feature of the Center that will serve students well: the sloping lawn that leads up to the second level. “It will be a great place for sledding!” (Above) Anne Katrine Senstad (left), creator of “Eternal,” the 86-foot-long mural that is the artistic centerpiece of The Wolfe Center for the Arts main lobby, talks with Mary Wolfe as husband Fritz and daughter Frederica look on. (Below) Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers shares a moment with Tom and Kate Donnell, for whom the main theatre space is named. (Bottom) Chair of the Department of Theatre and Film, Dr. Ron Shields, speaks as part of the dedication ceremony in the state-of-the-art Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre.