Richard Merritt, who died on January 8th at the age of 90, was the founding president of the UPAA. - Photo by Lisa Nugent/University of New Hampshire

This is truly sad news. As the current president of the University Photographers' Association of America, I would like to express my gratitude to Richard for his service, to both the University and UPAA. Richard's vision to create an organization, with the other founding members, that would promote both university photography and the University Photographer was exceptional.

Today the organization represents photographers and universities from all over the globe, Israel, Australia, Belgium, Grenada, and North America. This is quite the legacy that was started 50 years ago by 12 photographers in the Northeast. The technology has changed but the responsibility is the same, to record the visual history of higher education.

To Richard and his family, Thank you for a great idea!

Glenn Carpenter, UPAA President

Richard Merritt in 1962 - University of New Hampshire

See some of Richard's work and his obituary below:

Students and townspeople helped firefighters put out the flames that ravaged the campus's horse barn in 1961. All the horses were rescued. Photo by Richard Merrit/University of New Hampshire

Richard Merritt, 90, a resident of the River Woods Retirement Community of Exeter since 1998, died Jan. 8, 2012, after a short illness.

Richard Merritt was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1921, the last of three sons of the late William and Minnie Merritt. He took an early interest in photography, but his formal photo studies were put on hold by World War II. He served more than three years in the Navy, most of it as an aviation ordnance man aboard the USS Wake Island, a small aircraft carrier. As soon as the war was over, and just before his discharge from active duty, he married Edna Louise Smith of Red Hook, N.Y. Merritt attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he earned a diploma in photography in 1948.

After a short stint in New York City as a color technician, he accepted a dual position at the University of New Hampshire as Instructor in the Arts and University Photographer. He served in this dual capacity for 22 years, before fully devoting himself to teaching extremely popular photography classes. As UNH photographer, he covered everything from football games to academic events, and his lens captured many of the nation's art, cultural and political icons, among them: JFK, Margaret Mead, Lotte Jacobi, Edmund Teller, Aaron Copeland, and May Sarton.

Diamond Library, on a winter night in 1955. Photo by Richard Merritt/University of New Hampshire

During the 1970s and 1980s, Merritt brought the photography program at UNH to widespread acclaim, both in terms of the quality of the program and the intense loyalty of the students he nurtured with his quiet, patient manner and quick smile. In 1986 he retired from his tenured position as Associate Professor in the Arts. Merritt's own photographic work was widely exhibited and acknowledged. His work was included, most notably, in exhibitions with: Kodak Colorama, Grand Central in New York, N.Y.; J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency in New York, N.Y.; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pa.; mural entrance, Kodak Pavilion, World's Fair in New York, N.Y.; mural, State House in Concord; and Photography at Mid Century, George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., which traveled nationally; and at St. Gaudens in Cornish.

Merritt was the founding president of the University Photographers Association of America (UPAA), and he was one of the first photographers accepted by the N.H. Art Association. His numerous awards included: Photographer of the Year from the UPAA, an award from the American Institute of Architects, and the Currier Award in a N.H. Art Association Annual Exhibition.

In retirement, at River Woods of Exeter, Merritt shared his photo and video arts talents with other residents. He also took up painting, and continued his life-long enjoyment of performing arts, piano playing and listening to jazz. He even gave a few performances.
Merritt is survived by his wife of 66 years, Edna; his son, Jeff of Washington, D.C., and many nieces and nephews.

Edwin and Mary Scheier, who taught pottery at the University for nearly 30 years. Photo by Richard Meritt/University of New Hampshire

There are no calling hours or services planned. Burial will be held in the Durham Cemetery in Durham, NH at a later date. Brewitt Funeral Home, 14 Pine St., Exeter, NH is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to a charity of one's choice.

For more information, please visit

Meeting of the Bacteriology faculty, circa 1965. Photo by Richard Merritt/University of New Hampshire