MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts trustee emeritus and member of the class of 1950 Edward H. Merrin, along with his wife, Vivian, have committed $30 million to support financial aid at Tufts University. The gift was made on the occasion of Edward Merrin's 60th reunion this past weekend and will come to Tufts from the Merrins' estate. When it is received, it will create the Merrin-Bacow Fellows Scholarship Fund in honor of Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow.
Edward Merrin is the founder of The Merrin Gallery in New York and a distinguished philanthropist. He and Vivian, whose sons Jeremy, Seth and Samuel graduated from Tufts, are long-time benefactors whose past gifts in support of Tufts students and faculty total nearly $9 million.
"My wife and I have always wanted to make gifts that could change the world in some way, even save lives. Larry Bacow's passion for financial aid was an inspiration to Vivian and me," said Edward Merrin. "He's said that great universities are made up of great people. If we are to be a truly great university, then we should support the very best students. There may be someone out there now with a child who would never go to college without this aid."
"I am moved beyond words that Ed and Vivian would make such a gift in my honor,"said President Bacow. "That they would do so to support financial aid—my highest priority as president—only makes it that much more meaningful. Countless future students will have the opportunity to study at Tufts because of the Merrins' generosity."
Edward Merrin is one of Tufts' most devoted advocates.
"Tufts holds a very special place in my life," said Edward Merrin, who has worked closely with Tufts for more than three decades to further its financial resources. "I wasn't able to give very large gifts when I was younger, but I always felt I owed a debt to Tufts. Financial aid affects individual students as well as the circumstances of their immediate family. There’s also a generational benefit: their future children will be beneficiaries of their parent’s educational experience."
Financial aid is the fastest growing line item in Tufts’ budget. Since 2001, Tufts has increased financial aid for undergraduate, graduate and professional students by almost 94 percent.
In directing their commitment to financial aid, the Merrins join many donors who, over the course of Tufts’ $1.2 billion Beyond Boundaries campaign, have stepped forward to support students across the university. The campaign has to date raised $403 million to support increased financial aid and to enhance the student experience through new housing and academic facilities.
Edward Merrin has served on every reunion committee since his graduation. He and his wife gave Tufts $3 million in 2005, in conjunction with his 55th reunion, to endow The Seth Merrin Chair in the Humanities, which is held by noted theoretical linguist Ray Jackendoff, professor of philosophy and co-director of The Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. The chair is named in honor of their son,
a successful entrepreneur who co-founded Liquidnet, a provider of an electronic buy-side block trading system,
and a Tufts trustee. Edward Merrin served on the Tufts board of trustees from 1980 to 1991 and was subsequently elected trustee emeritus. During his term, Edward Merrin also served as National Chairman of the Annual Fund and Special Gifts. Under his leadership, annual fund gifts exceeded the $15 million goal by $5 million during Tufts’ first capital campaign. As chair of the Board of Overseers for the Arts, he was instrumental in securing the funding for Tufts’ Aidekman Arts Center.
Edward Merrin founded The Merrin Gallery, Inc., internationally recognized as the premier gallery for Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities and pre-Columbian works of ancient art, in the 1960s. Major acquisitions from The Merrin Gallery are now in the collections of museums throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Edward Merrin is a member and former president of the American Association of Dealers in Ancient, Oriental and Primitive Art, a director of the Lincoln Center Theater, a trustee of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, and a director of the Joint Distribution Committee of the United Jewish Appeal. He formerly served as trustee of the Infants Home of Brooklyn, chairman of the board of the Childville Home for Emotionally Disturbed Children, and member of the Executive Committee of the American Friends of the Israel Museum.
In addition to being Tufts parents, the Merrins are Tufts grandparents, and Mr. Edward Merrin's late brother Seymour Merrin and cousin Michael Merrin are also Tufts alumni.