McDaniel names campus building Merritt Hall
More than 100 alumni, friends and family members of Leroy Merritt ’52, gathered on May 4 during Reunion Weekend for the naming ceremony of Academic Hall, in memory of Merritt whose passed away in 2010.
Enhancing student life at McDaniel College, the alma mater he loved, inspired Merritt to help fund the construction of the Merritt Fitness Center dedicated in 2007, and later to pledge a $5 million challenge grant, intended to motivate alumni and friends to fund renovations to student residence halls and additional athletic facilities. That challenge grant was recently fulfilled.
“My father was a man of few words, but he was an avid learner who valued education,” said his son Robb Merritt. “He was extremely intelligent, a voracious reader and hard-working. It’s fitting that two buildings on this campus now bear his name.”
Sheila and Robb Merritt (Leroy’s daughter-in-law and son, president of Merritt Properties)
Centered on the top of the College’s scenic and historic hill, Merritt Hall still reflects the student life of its namesake. “Just a hundred yards from here once stood Old Main (near Baker Memorial Chapel) where Leroy lived in one of the residential wings, known as Ward Hall,” said President Roger Casey.
“On the opposite side of Merritt Hall is the spectacular view of the Catoctin mountains that serve as a backdrop to Hoffa Field in Gill Stadium where Leroy played football. Just north of the field, we can see the two-storied glass front of the Merritt Fitness Center that provides our students a break from their studies for exercise and recreation. And just behind these athletic facilities are our popular apartment-style student residences we call North Village.
“His [Merritt’s] gifts to the College promote learning that extends beyond the classroom. It furthers our long-standing tradition of life-long friendships forged on the Hill – a tradition that certainly Leroy knew firsthand.” Casey added.
The three-story academic building was first dedicated in 2005 and is home to the departments of Education and Psychology, Graduate and Professional Studies, and Student Academic Support Services.
A framed article about Leroy Merritt was presented as a gift to the Merritt family and a duplicate hangs in the building’s lobby in recognition of his gift.