Sally Merten Receives Achievement Award from Alma Mater

Posted: October 16, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Sally Merten, wife of Mason President Alan Merten, recently received the Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater, Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.

The award is given “to those who have made special contributions to the greater community,” according to the university.

Alan Merten, Sally Merten Ronald Slepitza
Mason President Alan Merten, Sally Merten and Avila University President Ronald Slepitza when Mrs. Merten received her Alumni Achievement Award.
Photo courtesy Avila University

Mrs. Merten graduated from Avila in 1964 with a BS in nursing. Since that time, she has made it her mission to contribute to the life of each community in which she has lived.

She joined the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps in 1965 and served at Andrews Air Force Base and Travis Air Force Base, where she treated the wounded returning from Vietnam.

It was during her service at Andrews that she met Dr. Merten, who was an Air Force officer at the time. She later taught at St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Madison, Wis., and St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mrs. Merten has had the challenge of raising a family in various states and countries as Dr. Merten’s career has progressed. Through it all, she has nurtured her love of the arts, contributing by serving on the boards of community arts organizations and giving her time and talents to other community service organizations.

While living in Gainesville, Fla., Mrs. Merten was on the board of the Florida Arts Celebration, serving as a liaison between the organization and various school systems and promoting artists in the schools program. She also was a trustee for public television station WUFT and a volunteer for the Hospice of Northern Florida, and she served on the board of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In 1990, the Mertens moved to Ithaca, N.Y., where Mrs. Merten joined the board of the Community School of Music and the Arts, as well as the Hangar Theatre, a summer professional theater that provides educational programs. She worked closely with area schools to provide special children’s productions.

Currently, Mrs. Merten is a trustee of WETA public television and radio stations. In addition, she is a member of the advisory board of the Medical Care for Children Partnerships and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. She also serves on the board of the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation, Fall for the Book Inc., the Gunston Hall Plantation, the Theater of the First Amendment at Mason, and the College of Health and Human Services at Mason.

Previously, she served on the board of the Virginia Opera and was a member of Mason’s Women’s Advisory Board, where she was instrumental in raising scholarship funds.

She is a 2005 recipient of the George Mason Medal and a 1999 recipient of the Virginia Opera Leadership Award.

She and Dr. Merten have two children and three grandchildren.

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