This story was originally written for UGA Today by Hillary Brown on May 11, 2018.
The Georgia Museum of Art received a gift of 14 significant paintings and works from C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry. Together, the couple collected these works of French and American art with a discriminating eye to hang in their home. The collection can be viewed until August 5 in the exhibition “A Legacy of Giving: C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry.”
“It would be rare and marvelous to receive a gift of a single work by Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, Maurice Prendergast, Andrew Wyeth, Ernest Lawson, Winslow Homer, Gifford Beal or John Singer Sargent. To receive works by all of these artists at once, in a single gift, is extraordinary,” said William U. Eiland, director of the museum. “Until Mrs. Terry made her gift, the museum did not own a painting by Sargent, only a drawing. These works also fill some gaps in the museum’s collection, allowing UGA students and the wider Athens-area community to benefit from seeing them in person.”
Mrs. Terry and her late husband have generously supported many endeavors across the University of Georgia for decades, including the Terry College of Business – which bears their name. In 1990, the couple gave the business school $6 million, at the time the largest individual gift in university history. The couple also made gifts to support other faculty chairs and the university’s general scholarship fund.
A native of Quitman, Georgia, Mrs. Terry’s unwavering commitment to UGA has illustrated her belief in higher education. Mrs. Terry hopes that her giving will inspire others to give as well.
“My husband and I just felt we wanted to give back because we had such good fortune,” Terry said. “We felt [arts, hospitals, education and children’s concerns] were important both for the future and for the needs we saw now.”