Wendy Reves will be the first person buried in the College’s cemetery near Blow Memorial Hall in over a century.
p. Although Reves died Tuesday, March 13 in France, her generous endowment to the College’s international studies program, which resulted in the creation of the Reves Center for International Studies, continues to impact the College.
p. A fashion model and art connoisseur with no prior ties to the College, Reves requested to be buried in the College’s cemetery, which has not been used since the death of former College president Benjamin S. Ewell in 1894.
p. “Reves was a true American original, a larger-than-life character who bestrode the worlds of fashion, art and politics with singular grace and style,” Vice Provost of International Affairs Mitchell Reiss said in an interview with the Virginia Gazette.
p. Reves had sought to memorialize her husband, Emery Reves, a prominent anti-Nazi advocate and writer, after his death in 1981.
p. After many million-dollar art donations, Reves finally found the perfect way to commemorate her husband’s life in 1987, with what she proudly referred to as “my building.” The $3 million donation, which allowed for the creation of the Reves Center, was made at the recommendation of a friend, as tribute to her husband. In doing so, she also rescued a historic building, the former Tyler Hall, from being torn down.
p. “Wendy Reves and her husband Emery inspired an international program at the College whose reach has almost equaled the esteem felt for its namesakes around the world. That is, as she would say, I think, among the greatest of her innumerable legacies. [The College] was beyond fortunate to have her friendship and will literally never forget her,” President Nichol said in a statement.
p. Reves spent the past 26 years working to preserve her husband’s memory through philanthropy with many other organizations as well, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Dallas Museum of Art. James Bill, the Reves Center’s first director, remembered the benefactor as “magnetic, flamboyant and unforgettable.”
p. The College is currently talking to the friends of Reves and those in charge of her estate to finalize many of the details for her memorial service.
p. These arrangements were made during former College President Tim Sullivan’s time in office, as an exception to the standard rules because of Reves’ devotion to the College.
p. They do not indicate a new policy for burials in the campus cemetery.
p. “It is a small cemetery and it has few gravestones, including members of Ewell’s family and some faculty from the 1800s. We’ve certainly honored friends of the College in the past through a variety of forms such as memorial services, statues and plaques,” College spokesman Brian Whitson said.
p. In her efforts to honor her husband’s esteemed memory, Reves also made herself an intrinsic part of the College’s history through her donations and deep affection.
p. “Mrs. Reves’ support and friendship to the College has made sure that generations of [the College’s] students have the opportunities, education and experience they need to [become] leaders in a constantly changing world,” Whitson said.