In Memoriam: Meritta Cullinan
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Meritta Cullinan, Chairperson of the Sociology Department and Professor of Sociology has passed away. Meritta has truly been one of the original "pillars" of Molloy College, having taught here for 49 of the College's 65 years of existence. She was an outstanding professor, true scholar, respected colleague, dear friend, and avid Yankees fan. She has served as Chairperson of the Sociology Department multiple times, Faculty President twice, and was twice the recipient of both the Faculty Council Award for Outstanding Service to Teaching Faculty and the Senior Class Recognition Award. She has also received the President's Medal, the Distinguished Service Award, the Sears-Roebuck Foundation's Teaching Excellence Award, and the Campus Leadership Award.
Meritta is perhaps best known for her tireless work on behalf of the faculty as a long-time member of the AAUP Executive Committee, Contract Committee, and Faculty Council. In addition, she was instrumental in the creation of the Molloy College Governance Structure. She helped to write the original Faculty Handbook, and served as its staunchest guardian, having committed it to memory and was known to be able to cite it chapter and verse. She was also known for her research expertise, having co-authored journals articles, presented scholarly papers, and served as co-director of the Community Research Institute, which has provided research services to the surrounding community and to the Molloy faculty.
Meritta fell in love with New York City when she moved there from Buffalo fifty years ago. Although she never lost her Buffalo accent, she became the quintessential New Yorker and was the founder of Molloy's popular Gotham Core course. It was her original vision "to create a global-learning program right here in New York City" so that students could be exposed to all the cultural, artistic, and historical richness that New York has to offer. A true believer in experiential education, Meritta was a cofounder of Molloy's new Experiential Academy, a pilot of which will be launched in the fall of 2020. She was also a fierce defender of the liberal arts, Sociology, academic freedom, Molloy College, and common sense. And she did it all with an unassuming yet biting sarcasm that never crossed into mean-spiritedness.
Molloy College owes a great debt to Meritta for all her contributions over the years and her imprint on the College will be felt for many years to come. She will be greatly missed.