Spartanburg Methodist College Professor of Spanish, Lori Merck, was recognized on Friday, April 4th with the Archie Vernon and Margaret Wannamaker Huff Faculty Award.
Dr. A. V. Huff, Jr., a former SMC Board member and a retired Chairperson of the Department of History at Furman, along with his wife, Kate, established this award fund in 1970 in memory of his parents, Archie Vernon and Margaret Wannamaker Huff.
Dr. Huff grew up just blocks away from the state Capitol and Woodrow Wilson’s childhood home. He would often see former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes walking the streets. And once he got a close up view of Franklin Roosevelt. As a child Huff delighted in hearing the stories that Civil War veterans told of their exploits in battle. His grandfather fought in the Civil War, and his father owned a cotton farm.
Huff attended Wofford College, then earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Yale, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University and was a Fulbright Scholar and Woodrow Wilson Fellow. A United Methodist minister and a 35-year member of the Furman University, serving on the faculty beginning in 1968 and as VP for Academic Affairs and Dean from 1995 until his retirement in 2003, Huff’s childhood South Carolina was a sleepy state, a land of small farms and towns and burgeoning textile mills. He lived through the industrialization and “smokestack chasing” of the ’40s and ’50s, the civil rights struggles of the ’60s, desegregation in the ’70s, the demise of the textile industry in the ’80s and the suburban growth of the ’90s.
A specialist on the American South and South Carolina, he has written and edited a number of books, including The History of South Carolina in the Building of a Nation, Langdon Cheves of South Carolina and Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont, a work that took him 10 years to research and write.
Proceeds from the Huff endowed fund are awarded annually to an instructor exemplifying outstanding professional qualifications and teaching ability. Merck was recognized by her peers during the April faculty meeting for her demonstrated professional competence and service to the college. The award’s monetary prize allows the recipient to further her study, travel to broaden her professional or cultural perspective or help defray publication expenses for scholarly work.
In addition to teaching, Merck heads up the SMC Hispanic Student Association and is the Director of the SMC Interdisciplinary Committee that is charged with bringing cultural events to the college. “Lori Merck is a dedicated member of our faculty. Her contributions in and out of the classroom are significant and impact, not only our college, but also our community. This award recognizes her exceptional commitment, enthusiasm and willingness to help students succeed,” stated Spartanburg Methodist College President, Dr. Colleen Keith.
Merck earned her undergraduate degree from Converse College and her master’s degree from Furman University. Merck, a Moore, SC resident has taught at SMC since 2008, is married to Blandin Merck and they have three children.