For nearly 40 years, William “Bill” DeMeritt was considered one of the most visible faculty members on The College of New Jersey campus. So immersed was he in the everyday fabric of TCNJ that his very presence often seemed an extension of the classroom.
In retirement, not much has changed. Earlier this year, the emeritus professor of English made the first installment of what will eventually be a six-figure commitment in support of a provost ’s discretionary fund that, in perpetuity, will support undergraduate research. His initial donation came in the form of a charitable gift annuity that will also provide both him and his wife, Barbara, additional annual income, as well as tax-savings incentives.
“It was not unusual to find a student (or a few) hanging out in his office and chatting, ” according to Lee Harrod, a colleague of DeMeritt’s in the English department. “His office was in the honors residence hall at one point, so he saw many students every day. I think Bill is one of the people who has helped make this place really special for students. ”
DeMeritt founded TCNJ’s Honors Program, which, under his leadership, was recognized as among the model programs in the region. He not only planned and attended activities with honors students —to the shore, museums, and to lectures—but he also served as mentor to the College’s successful Quiz Bowl team.
“I am grateful to have been able to work with such bright and creative students and such supportive colleagues, ” DeMerrit explained. “I am now fortunate to be in a position to give something back to such a great school. ”
Emily Weiss ’03