Statement from Cornell University President Hunter R. Rawlings III and Chairman of the Board Peter Meinig regarding distinguished alumnus Philip Merrill '55

Cornell University is greatly saddened by the loss of devoted alumnus Philip Merrill '55 and sends heartfelt sympathies to Eleanor Merrill, Douglas Merrill '89, MBA '91, Catherine Merrill '91 and Nancy Merrill '96. Phil's long-standing connection to the university in his many roles -- including trustee fellow, University Council life member, Johnson Graduate School of Management Advisory Council member, and, most recently, Presidential Councillor -- have made him an invaluable advisor and supporter of Cornell. With Phil's loss, Cornell University mourns more than a benefactor; he was also a creative and giving friend.

We take great pride in the annual Merrill Presidential Scholars Program, which reflects Phil's unwavering commitment to excellence in education. This extraordinary program selects Cornell's top-performing seniors each year and honors those professors and secondary school teachers who have most inspired and influenced them. Phil's lifelong love of sailing is reflected in his most recent gift to the university, which will create the Merrill Family Sailing Center on Cayuga Lake. Cornell students and faculty look forward to the construction of this center, which will stand as a lasting tribute to Phil Merrill.

Phil will be sorely missed throughout the Cornell community. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Merrill family during this very difficult time.

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Blaine Friedlander