by MATT MOLINAR//Opinion Editor
Dr. Stanley L. DeMerritt says that his heart for service is just one of his many qualifications to be South Plains College’s newest dean of students.
A seasoned professional of higher education, Dr. DeMerritt brings 20 years of experience from Wayland Baptist University, where he served as the institution’s associate academic vice president, university registrar, associate registrar, VA certifying official and coordinator of external campus registration.
Dr. DeMerritt began his career in New Mexico. He attended New Mexico State University, where he received an Associate of Arts degree in Pre-Business. From there, he moved on to pursue three more degrees at Wayland Baptist University and Texas Tech University, including a Ph.D.
“I started out at NSU in Las Cruces in the ’80’s,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “Then I moved on to the location in Carlsbad. In 1992, I transferred over to Wayland and did my undergraduate work there. I then continued on to my Masters of Education degree. In the mid ’90’s, I moved on to TTU to get my Ph.D in higher education.”
While doing work toward his Ph.D, Dr. DeMerritt says it was nice to work in a professional environment where he could gain the experience necessary for his profession.
“It was different than a typical graduate program,” Dr. Demerritt explained. “They cater to the professional in those programs, so you had classes on weekends, online, or in late evenings. It was really nice to work as a professional in the field.”
Initially, Dr. DeMerritt went to school to become an engineer. However, he decided it was not the direction he wanted to go.
“At Wayland, I did a major in general religion studies, and business as a second major,” he explained. “Engineering was not what I decided I wanted to do. I went on to get my Masters of Education and business administration.”
Before taking the position at SPC, which has been unoccupied since last semester, Dr. DeMerritt served as associate academic vice president at Wayland for the past 10 years.
“I was responsible for strategic planning, academic policy, academic catalogue, registrar’s office, institutional research and effectiveness, and a plethora of other duties,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “I hope to bring some solid integrity to the office, knowing the history of what’s been here. I want to try to lead the dean of students offices in a cohesive role that leads us into one direction and back into the mission and strategic initiatives of the college.”
Dr. DeMerritt considers the open position “a God thing,” as he had no intention of taking the direction of student affairs and student life.
“I was looking more into a registrar-type role,” he explains. “I received a call, and here I am.”
As someone who has become very involved in community services and activities, Dr. DeMerritt has spent a lot of his time serving for the Boy Scouts of America as an adult leader, chairman and Eagle Scout title recipient, Rotary Club of Plainview as president and on the board of directors. He also has been delivering for Meals on Wheels since 2002.
“It was a great experience being involved in the scouting movement,” Dr. DeMerrit said. “I am still involved as much as I can be with Boy Scouts, even though I’ve pushed it aside. Last year, I shifted my volunteer time to be the president of the Plainview Rotary Club, where we did a weekly Meals on Wheels route.”
Dr. DeMerritt encourages students not to give up, no matter what the circumstances may be.
“My advice to students is encapsulated into one word – persevere,” he explained. “During your college experience, there will be times life gets in the way and poor decisions are made. Don’t let life divert your ambition. I crammed a four-year college degree into eight years and turned out just fine! Persevere and have some fun along the way.”