Richard L Merritt
(August 8, 1933 - November 19, 2005)

Richard L. Merritt, Emeritus Research Professor in Communications and Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, died on Saturday, November 19, 2005. He had suffered from Parkinson’s for several years and fell at his home a week before his death.

“Dick,” as he was known to his friends and colleagues, was born on August 8, 1933, in Portland, Oregon. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1955. He studied at the University of Virginia, Free University of Berlin, and Yale University, where he received the doctorate in 1962 under Professor Karl Deutsch with whom he collaborated throughout Professor Deutsch’s academic life.

Dick taught at Yale University and, since 1967, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As Head of the Department of Political Science (1978-84), Dick’s tireless recruiting initiatives strengthened the Department’s research and teaching capability, notably in quantitative international relations research. During his tenure, he was principally responsible for creating the Merriam Laboratory for Analytic Political Science. In 1976, he was Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin, where he had earlier (1966-67) been Fulbright Research Professor; in 1979-81, Visiting Scholar at the International Institute for Comparative Social Research, Science Center Berlin; in 1991, Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa; and in 1992-93, Fulbright Research Professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He lectured (in English and German) at major universities and government institutions on five continents.

Mr. Merritt served as Vice-President both of the International Studies Association (1979-80) and the International Political Science Association (1979-82), and as President of the ISA/Midwest (1984-85) and the Conference Group on German Politics (1986-88). He organized the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association (1970) and International Studies Association (1973) as well as the triennial world congress in Moscow of the International Political Science Association (1979). He co-organized the interuniversity Data Development for International Research (DDIR) group. He edited IPSA's book series and served on a dozen editorial boards of professional journals, including the International Political Science Review, Political Communications, Historical Social Research, and the American Journal of Political Science. He consulted for the United Nations and for government agencies and educational institutions the United States and West Germany. In 1975 he received the Wakefield Award for Outstanding Political Achievement, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is listed in Who's Who in America and other directories.

Dick, a pioneer in the quantitative study of international relations, was a leader in research and teaching in international communication and politics. His authored and edited books on international communication include Symbols of American Community (1966), Communication in International Politics (1972), Communication and Interaction in Global Politics (1987), and Science, Politics, and International Conferences (1989). Books written or edited on quantitative international politics include Comparing Nations (1966), Systematic Approaches to Comparative Politics (1970), From National Development to Global Community (1981), and Theory and Management of International Event Data (1992).

Dick was no less internationally recognized as a leading scholar and policy analyst of German government and politics. Books written or edited on postwar Germany include France, Germany and the Western Alliance (1967), Public Opinion in Occupied Germany (1970), West Germany Enters the Seventies (1971), Public Opinion in Semisovereign Germany (1980), Living with the Wall (1985), and Berlin Between Two Worlds (1986). In 1995 Yale University Press published his Democracy Imposed: U.S. Occupation Policy and the German Public, 1945-1949. In the course of his rich and creative career, Dick authored or co-authored seven full-length volumes and contributed more than 100 articles and 50 reviews to scholarly journals and books.

Dick has left an indelibly mark on his fields of specialization. These are living testimony for what he will be remembered most — and best: his uncompromising dedication to high intellectual and academic standards; his significant contributions to international relations theory, methodology, and practice; his exemplary and unselfish professional service; his devotion to teaching excellence; and his unwavering support of his beloved family, cherished friends, and valued colleagues.

Dick will also be remembered by his close friends and family for his quiet manner and sardonic wit, as well as his great love of classical music, movies, bicycling, dark chocolate, and cats.

Dick is survived by his wife, Anna Gode-von Aesch Merritt, whom he met when both were in Berlin as Fulbright students and with whom he co-authored and co-edited a number of books and articles. Survivors also include three children, Christopher (San Diego), Geoffrey (Urbana), and Theodore (Urbana), a granddaughter, a grandson, and two brothers, Col. Raymond James, USAF/ret. (Marysville, CA), and John (Berkeley).

Family, friends, and colleagues around the world — we all will miss him.

Edward A. Kolodziej
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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