Throughout Women’s History Month, Keuka College is celebrating the women – past and present – whose dedication, accomplishments, and influence have contributed to the College’s legacy. Each day, we’ll share profiles of influential women, historical nuggets, and comments from students and others in the Keuka College community about the importance of Women’s History Month.
Mary Schleiermacher, affectionately known as “Miss S,” served as professor of physical education from 1970-2006.
Through that time, Miss S’s energy, passion, and enthusiasm for teaching—and her students—was constant. Upon her retirement, as testament to that dedication, several former students established a scholarship in her name. The Mary P. Schleiermacher Scholarship recognizes and rewards a junior female scholar and athlete who exhibits the same qualities as Miss S: citizenship, leadership, service, sportsmanship, and the “true joy of total wellness in mind, body, and spirit.”
One of the students behind the scholarship was Dr. Carolyn Klinge ’79, professor of biochemistry/molecular biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
“Miss S continues to be a role model for how I would like to be as an educator and a person,” says Dr. Klinge, who serves as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees.
Fellow Trustee Jill Martin ’77 agrees.
“Miss S is a wonderful person,” says Jill, professor and chair of the Legal Studies Department at Quinnipiac University. “She welcomed us to her home, and that made such a difference for me when I was at Keuka College. I try to get to know my students the same way, and always invite them to my house for dinner.”
During her tenure at the College, Miss S, a professor emerita, not only served as a member of the physical education faculty, she was the volleyball coach, and the faculty advisor to the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA).
“As advisor to WAA, she biked around the lake with us, biked to Watkins Glen, and supported us in cooking a Thanksgiving dinner over a fire in the Long House,” says Jill. “She will be inducted into the Dr. Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. Athletics Hall of Fame (finally!) this fall.”
Jill adds that Miss S gave great support to her students.
“She was positive, enthusiastic, and ‘can do,’” says Jill. “She believed in us, and that we could do whatever we set our minds to. So, we believed in ourselves. We are friends, and I visit her whenever I go back to Keuka College. She is always supportive and enthusiastic.”
That support and enthusiasm led Miss S to be nominated for the 2001 National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Student in Transition Award for Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate.
The award recognizes individuals on the nation’s campuses who are outstanding first-year advocates. It is co-sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Co., which publishes textbooks and instructional technology for the elementary, secondary, and college markets.
Miss S’s support of Keuka College didn’t end at retirement, as she has donated to Friends of Lightner Library, the Keuka Fund, and the Centennial Campaign. She has attended past reunion events, Backpack to Briefcase events, the Scholarship Brunch, the Stork Award luncheon, Green & Gold, and president’s forum lectures. Mary also regularly attends Commencement and Convocation.
“I don’t think it is possible to quantify the impact Miss S’s presence at Keuka College had on me and my friends,” says Jill. “Miss S was involved in our lives, our growth, and our wellness. She was part of our Keuka College experience and education. Kudos to Mary Schleiermacher!”