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Finding a place of her own at Rochester

May 7, 2019
Gillian Gingher photographed in Hartnett GalleryArt history and business double major Gillian Gingher '19 served as events manager for student-run Hartnett Gallery. She also interned at the Memorial Art Gallery and two galleries in New York City. After graduation she plans to pursue a master's degree in architecture. (University photo by J. Adam Fenster)

Making Their Mark is a Newscenter series of profiles celebrating members of Rochester’s graduating class of 2019.

Three questions

Favorite class? “Materiality in Architecture with professor Peter Christensen. We took a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass, and it’s one of the best museums I’ve ever been to.”

Favorite tradition? “I love Meliora Weekend. I love anything that brings my parents (both 1984 graduates) back to campus.”

Favorite spot on campus? “Rush Rhees Library. I spent the spring semester of my first year writing a research paper on the construction and design evolution of the building for a writing class.”

Gillian Gingher didn’t want to attend the University of Rochester for one simple reason: her parents did.

“They met here in the early 1980s and married a few years after graduation,” she says. “I thought, ‘I can’t go to this school. This is my parents’ school. I need my own place.’”

But Stephanie Drew Gingher ’84 and Robert Gingher ’84 insisted she take a River Campus tour before her senior year of high school. Intrigued, she flew back alone from her Long Island home for a second visit—and fell in love. “The campus had such a good fit,” she says. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go here.”

In four years, Gingher has made Rochester her own place. She has been a diver for the varsity swim team, a Meridian tour guide, a member of Delta Gamma, and events manager for the student-run Hartnett Gallery in Wilson Commons. She studied abroad in Milan, Italy, and will graduate as a double major in art history and business.

“I wasn’t super involved in high school,” she says. “But Rochester is such an open community that it’s easy to connect with people right away.”

Gingher’s interest in art began as a child.

“My mom is an oral surgeon, and she wanted to spend time with me each week,” she says, “so we took a painting class with a local artist in Babylon, New York. We did that for probably 10 years, and when I went to boarding school, I did a lot of studio art.”

Gingher was thrilled to discover Rochester has a studio arts program. She interned at the Memorial Art Gallery and at two galleries in New York City.

Her next step will be graduate school, where she will pursue a master of architecture degree. “I want to work in housing and urban development,” she says. “I care deeply about the housing crisis in the United States and want to make sure people understand that shelter is a necessity of life. There’s no reason people should be homeless.”

Gillian wears her mom’s 1984 Rochester class ring, and she’s proud to soon call herself an alumna.

“The University is a hidden gem,” she says. “I’m so glad I came here.”

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