For more than 30 years, Raymond W. Merritt Sr. has served as a powerful patron of the arts, producing several books about photography and coordinating countless museum exhibits, including four at Ohio Wesleyan University.
On Nov. 17, he will give a free, illustrated talk focused on photography at 7:30 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. During Merritt’s presentation, he will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, the highest award given by the university.
Following his presentation, Merritt will be recognized at a public reception from 8:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the nearby Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky Ave., Delaware.
Among the museum’s current exhibitions is “Two by Two: Photographic Conversations,” showcasing a small portion of the artwork Merritt has donated or directed to Ohio Wesleyan’s teaching collection over the past 14 years. “Two by Two” will be exhibited in the Ross Art Museum’s west gallery through Dec. 15.
Merritt has written or edited more than 20 books, including the photography volumes “A Thousand Hounds,” selected as the Best Book of the Year for 2000 by New York Magazine, and “Full of Grace,” named Photo District News Magazine’s Best Book of the Year for 2007 and declared by Oprah Magazine to be “dazzlingly elegant, elegiac and exhilarating.”
Merritt is a co-creator of the “Outcastics” children’s books, which includes “The Adventures of Captain Cur & Wonderflea.” His new book, “A Clamour of Crows,” is a mystery novel that marks his first work of fiction.
A passionate supporter of the arts, Merritt served in leadership roles with The Guggenheim, the International Center of Photography, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and with the Norton Museum of Art in Florida.
He also served for nine years as a member of the Ross Art Museum’s National Board of Advisors, helping in 2012 to bring the highly acclaimed “Full of Grace” exhibition to Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware.
Merritt graduated magnum cum laude from Holy Cross College, with majors in Greek and Latin. He earned his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law and worked many years for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, an international law firm with nine offices in six countries.
During the academic year, OWU’s Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call 740-368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for information.