Raymond W. Merritt Sr. to Receive Honorary Degree During Nov. 17 Event
DELAWARE, Ohio – For more than 30 years, Raymond W. Merritt Sr. has served as a powerful patron of the arts, producing several books about photography and coordinating countless museum exhibits, including four at Ohio Wesleyan University.
On Nov. 17, he will give a free, illustrated talk focused on photography at 7:30 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. During Merritt’s presentation, he will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, the highest award given by the university.
Following his presentation, Merritt will be recognized at a public reception from 8:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the nearby Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky Ave., Delaware.
Among the museum’s current exhibitions is “Two by Two: Photographic Conversations,” showcasing a small portion of the artwork Merritt has donated or directed to Ohio Wesleyan’s teaching collection over the past 14 years. “Two by Two” will be exhibited in the Ross Art Museum’s west gallery through Dec. 15.
Merritt has written or edited more than 20 books, including the photography volumes “A Thousand Hounds,” selected as the Best Book of the Year for 2000 by New York Magazine, and “Full of Grace,” named Photo District News Magazine’s Best Book of the Year for 2007 and declared by Oprah Magazine to be “dazzlingly elegant, elegiac and exhilarating.” Merritt is a co-creator of the “Outcastics” children’s books, which includes “The Adventures of Captain Cur & Wonderflea.” His new book, “A Clamour of Crows,” is a mystery novel that marks his first work of fiction.
A passionate supporter of the arts, Merritt served in leadership roles with The Guggenheim, the International Center of Photography, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and with the Norton Museum of Art in Florida.
He also served for nine years as a member of the Ross Art Museum’s National Board of Advisors, helping in 2012 to bring the highly acclaimed “Full of Grace” exhibition to Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware. The show is an extension of the “Full of Grace” book he created to chronicle photographs of children throughout history. Merritt donated net profits from the book to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). His longstanding ties to UNICEF include serving on the board of directors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the world’s largest children’s welfare organization. As a UNICEF board member, Merritt chaired the development and nominating committees.
Merritt also has supported philanthropy in leadership roles with The Buhl Foundation, which seeks to enhance the quality of life of underprivileged individuals by supporting the homeless, education, and the arts; the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE), which works to help New York City’s homeless achieve financial independence; The Loyola Foundation, which supports overseas Catholic mission activities; the Design Trust for Public Space, which brings together government agencies, community groups, and private-sector experts to positively transform the New York City landscape; and his family’s Cygnet Foundation, which uses art-related programs to raise funds to help those less fortunate.
Merritt graduated magna cum laude from Holy Cross College, with majors in Greek and Latin. He earned his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law and worked many years for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, an international law firm with nine offices in six countries.
During the academic year, OWU’s Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.