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