Carnegie Mellon University

Mary Schinhofen

March 15, 2018

Volunteer of the Week - Mary Schinhofen

By Jay Farrell

Though Mary has been an Osher Assistant in many CMU Osher classes, she is best known for the courses she’s led on the novels of William Faulkner—such as Faulkner’s The Mansion, the Last of the Snopes Trilogy—and for being part of the team that leads Great and Notable Novels, Read and Revisited. “All aspects of volunteering for Osher bring me satisfaction,” Mary said. “I enjoy doing research, as well as discussing the authors I love so deeply.” She also enjoys the way perspectives and points of view change in the Great Novels classes, depending on who’s leading the discussion. And volunteering itself is essential: “If we don’t have volunteers,” Mary told me, “we don’t have Osher. And it’s such a gratifying feeling to volunteer. It’s more than taking classes. It becomes a family.”

Mary is also active at First Unitarian Church in Shadyside, where she has served, she thinks, “on practically every committee.” Mary also dabbles in art, starting painting classes when she turned 70. Her husband, architect Ray Schinhofen, is a CMU Osher Study Leader, too. You may have taken his class Pittsburgh’s Architectural Heritage. 

The Schinhofens have five children, scattered across the U.S., ten "very creative" grandchildren, and a 19-year old black domestic shorthaired cat named Dante.