For Immediate Release – August 6, 2004

DR. MYRTLE A. MERRITT ATHLETIC CENTER TO BE FORMALLY DEDICATED ON FRIDAY, AUG. 6

GENESEO, N.Y. – The Alumni Fieldhouse at the State University of New York at Geneseo — an on-campus, multi-use sports facility — will be formally dedicated on Friday, Aug. 6, as the Dr. Myrtle A. Merritt Athletic Center. The re-naming was approved by the SUNY Geneseo College Council and the State University of New York Board of Trustees earlier this year.

A dedication ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. outside of the Athletic Center. A reception, dinner and salute to Merritt will be held immediately following in the new Mary Jemison Dining Hall. Merritt, a longtime resident of Geneseo, will be on hand for the event, and more than 200 people are expected to be in attendance for this very special dedication.

The fieldhouse will bear the name of Geneseo resident Myrt Merritt, professor emerita of health, physical education and recreation, who served the college with distinction as a faculty member and administrator for thirty years. As a former department chair, she helped plan both Schrader Gym and the Alumni Fieldhouse.

Merritt was a pioneer and champion of efforts to expand opportunities for young women to participate in athletics. "She provided both vision and encouragement for the growth of women’s athletics at the college, and the young women who so well represent Geneseo in varsity athletics today owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Myrt for paving the way," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. "Myrt is one of those exceptional individuals whose loyalty and commitment to the college know no bounds and who has helped make Geneseo a very special place. Naming the fieldhouse in recognition of her contributions to Geneseo is a most appropriate and fitting tribute."

Since her retirement in 1982, Merritt has been one of Geneseo’s most active volunteer leaders and generous benefactors. Among other gifts of time and money, Merritt established an endowment for women’s athletics and funded academic scholarships for many worthy students. "Myrt’s remarkable and ongoing commitment to the college and Geneseo athletics continues to enrich the lives of many students and colleagues," said Marilyn Moore, director of athletics. "As a friend and mentor, she is respected and admired for her knowledge and enthusiasm. As President of the Blue Knights Roundtable booster club, Myrt gives unselfishly of her time and support of intercollegiate athletics, and is by far our number one fan and friend."

During her years at Geneseo, Merritt served as chair of the Department of Physical Education and directed the women’s intramural program. Highly respected by her professional colleagues, Merritt was elected to leadership roles in numerous state, regional and national physical education organizations throughout her career.

Merritt was the first recipient of the SUNY Geneseo Medal for Philanthropy in 2002 and earned the Geneseo Foundation’s Meritorious Service Award in 1992.

"Myrt is one of a handful of legendary faculty members who built the foundation of today’s Geneseo and continues to be a shining example to others of what leaving a legacy, giving back, and making a difference really means," said Art Hatton, vice president for college advancement and president of the Geneseo Foundation. "Naming the physical space where she spent much of her life and dreamed so many dreams in her honor means the world to Myrt — and to Geneseo."

The Alumni Fieldhouse contains the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena, Louise Kuhl Gymnasium, the Alumni Pool, a top-of-the-line fitness center, squash courts, and the offices of the athletic department staff. The facility was completed in 1973.

– 30 –

Back