Garry Heiter passed away July 4, 2012. His legacy remains at SOU through his scholarship. He will be remembered for his generous spirit, hard work and love of the arts. SOU and our students are forever grateful.
"Whatever I have, I worked hard for," says eighty-one-year–old Gerhard D. "Garry" Heiter. "I saved my money for a rainy day, for a good purpose. I want to do good for others. I was brought up this way."
Born in Mainz, Germany, Garry was seventeen years old when World War II ended. After attending the University of Frankfurt, he lived and worked around the world as a hotel comptroller before settling in Medford twenty years ago. His neighbors were the late Bill and Florence Schneider, primary benefactors of SOU's Schneider Museum of Art. "We were very close neighbors," says Garry. "Florence was an elegant lady."
Garry wanted to find a local institution where his philanthropy would have an impact. Florence Schneider recruited him to be a friend of Southern Oregon University. Since 1989, his contributions have included matching community funds to renovate the Schneider Museum of Art, as well as funding its Heiter Gallery. He also sponsored the Gutenberg Meeting Room in the Lenn and Dixie Hannon Library (Gutenberg was from Garry's hometown in Mainz, Germany). Garry served for nine years on the Friends of the Schneider Museum of Art Advisory Board.
The museum and library are reminders of Garry's continued presence on the SOU campus. The Gerhard Heiter Scholarship Endowment is another.
These annual scholarships are merit-based for full-time undergraduate and graduate SOU students majoring in art, English and writing, foreign languages and literatures, music, and theatre arts.
Garry Heiter received the Schneider Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Museum and the Arts Community of Southern Oregon in 2008. The University is grateful to Garry for his great affection for our students, his love of the arts, and his generous spirit.