Merritt joined The Collins College faculty in 2000. He is highly regarded by students and his peers, who have selected him as Professor of the Year five times, and he was last year’s Outstanding Advisor of the Year.
“Dr. Merritt’s academic and industry expertise in leadership and strategic management will serve The Collins College well during this time of transition,” says Provost Marten denBoer. “He is a vital member of the faculty with the ability and energy to continue the college’s remarkable progress and excellence.”
Merritt takes the place of Andy Feinstein, who announced that he is leaving by mid-July to become a deputy provost at San Jose State University. Feinstein has served as Collins’ dean for nearly six years.
Before entering the world of academia, Merritt spent 25 years in the hospitality industry, where his primary focus was resort club development and management. Notably, as chief operating officer and general manager of Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, he oversaw the planning, development and management of the club. As COO and general manager of Sawgrass, he managed an equity conversion and transition of the resort from developer-owned to member-owned.
“I am honored to serve The Collins College during this time of change,” Merritt says. “I am passionate about being in the classroom, but I’m grateful to be selected to lead the college and will work to assure we maintain our high standards of education and service to students.”
Merritt earned a Ph.D. in hotel administration and organizational behavior at Cornell University, a Master of Business Administration at Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in administrative science at the University of Alabama.
He is the author of seven books on business management, several book chapters, and more than 200 academic and industry publications and presentations. His career has touched on all major areas of the hospitality industry.
He is thought to be the first person to obtain industry executive certification in all four areas of hospitality management: Certified Club Manager, Certified Hotel Administrator, Foodservice Management Professional and Certified Hospitality Educator.
Merritt will serve on an interim basis while the university conducts a national search for the dean position.