Professor Merry Kone FitzPatrick 1922-1998
Professor FitzPatrick was one of the first professors drafted to teach courses for what, in 1967, would become the Honors Program at Texas State University. A History professor, she taught such popular courses as Greek Civilization and Western Civilization in Honors. Not only were these some of the first honors courses taught, but they were also courses that would set high standards for the quality of the teaching offered by honors professors, and would establish many of the features of the courses that honors students now recognize as standard.
At the end of her Greek Civilization course, Professor FitzPatrick typically hosted a Greek meal and symposium at her house for her students, helping to establish a tradition of allowing students to pursue creative final projects. She was also known for fostering engaging discussions and devoting much time to helping students meet her high academic standards—two features that have come to define honors professors. In 1983, the University community recognized Professor FitzPatrick’s qualities as a teacher with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 1985 and again in 1993, the students of the Honors Program recognized her with the Honors Professor of the Year award. There are now two scholarships established in her name, one in History and one in Honors that is given annually to an outstanding honors student who is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta –an organization that she brought to the campus in the 1960s.