- President of Southwestern College
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W. Richard (Dick) Merriman, Jr. is the 17th president of Southwestern College. He assumed the presidency in August 1998.
During Merriman’s tenure the college has achieved significant growth in enrollment, particularly in the Professional Studies program for adults and in the college’s graduate programs. A number of important facilities projects have also been completed, including renovations of Mossman Hall, the Deets Library, and the college’s landmark 77 Steps and Mound. Most recently, the college has dedicated its new Jantz Stadium and created the Richardson Performing Arts Center through a major renovation of the auditorium in the Christy Administration Building. Merriman has led two capital campaigns through which the college’s generous supporters have provided over $40 million of gift support for facilities projects, the college’s endowment, and its academic and athletic programs.
Merriman grew up in Kansas, the son of William R. and Neva Merriman. His father was a United Methodist minister serving churches in Kansas. His mother is a retired clinical psychologist.
Following graduation from Hardtner (Kan.) High School, Merriman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social science from Emporia State University. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University in 1986.
Merriman taught courses in American politics at Berea (Ky.) College from 1983 to 1985, then moved to Washington, D.C. where he was executive director of the Jefferson Foundation and served as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He returned to work in higher education as part of the advancement team at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, rising to the position of vice president for institutional advancement.
Merriman is married to Margot Kelman. Kelman holds a Ph.D. in communication disorders from Wichita State University and is in private practice as a speech-language pathologist. She was formerly director of the speech-language clinic at Syracuse University. They have two sons. Ben is married to Sarah Wilson and is a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Aaron is a sophomore in high school.