University of Rochester/Cutler Union


Cutler Union.jpg

500 University Avenue, Rochester NY, 14607
Wheelchair Accessible?
Property Owner
University of Rochester
Ezra Winter

Cutler Union is a historic building that is part of the Memorial Art Gallery. It started life as the student union for the University of Rochester College for Women. The male students had recently (1930) been moved to the new River Campus, where they had Todd Union. The construction of Cutler Union was part of an overall plan to expand the Prince Street facilities in order to accommodate a growing student body.

The Gothic building, made with Indiana limestone, is often mistaken for an old church. It was named for James G. Cutler, whose bequest paid for the construction. When it opened in 1933, Cutler Union is described as follows:

Ruth Merrill of Radcliffe was recruited as the director, making her the first female director of a university student union in the United States. The union was beloved by several generations of female alumni, even inspiring popular English professor John Slater to compose "Tower Song":

In 1955, however, the female students were moved to the River Campus and the Prince Street Campus closed for good. Cutler Union was subsequently given to the Eastman School of Music. In 1968 local architectural firm Waasdorp, Northrup and Kaelber were commissioned to build an International Modern-style addition that connected Cutler Union to the MAG's main building. Today it used primarily as classroom space. Both the Memorial Art Gallery and Cutler Union are the only two remnants of the original Prince Street Campus that are still part of the University of Rochester.


Photo by DottieHoffmann, 2010-10-09


Note: You must be logged in to add comments

2020-04-20 14:05:45   The Cutler Union is not primarily used as classroom space.Creative Workshop does occupy most of the lower level. Administrative offices occupy most of the upper level office space. The ballroom is rented out for wedding receptions and corporate events. —SherrilGoslar