By Phil Batson
George Bennett has created a new unofficial status for Dave Merritt: IPTAY’s International Representative.
Merritt is well qualified. He recently returned from traveling to Europe and Asia just in time to attend an IPTAY Tiger Pride dinner in recognition of Dave and Nancy Merritt’s contribution to Clemson’s first-ever capital fund-raising campaign.
“Dave is our world wide IPTAY rep because of his spreading the Clemson message throughout the world,” said Bennett. “He has friends and business associates around the globe who know about Clemson and have Tiger Paws.”
Merritt is an executive vice president with Erhardt & Leimer Inc., which is based in Augsburg, Germany and conducts business around the world. Due to Merritt’s efforts, many of the company’s executives– including the president–are IPTAY members and “Honorary Tigers”.
With the Merritts playing host, company officials typically attend a Clemson home football game once every few years. They have expressed a desire to return to Clemson and “eat out of the back of the car.”
“Clemson sells itself,” said Merritt. “They’ve adopted Clemson. They enjoy the crowd, pageantry and family atmosphere at Clemson. They are also impressed with the friendliness of Clemson people.”
The Merritts relationship with Clemson goes back to when Dave was a student here. It was a trying time for them, but Dave remembers it fondly.
“Our son, Dave Jr., was a baby when we lived in one of the prefab mansions F Street. Nancy’s mother would bring a bag of groceries and it was like Christmas for us. We did not have two quarters to rub together, but I think those times made us better people. We love those memories.”
In 1995, the Merritts, who reside in Piedmont, SC, created an IPTAY Endowment in honor of former Tiger great Perry Tuttle.
“You have done so much for Clemson down through the years,” Bennett said. “We can not thank you enough for what you have meant to Clemson.
“The part the Merritt family is playing with our Tiger Pride campaign is a significant part. They are setting an example in leadership for Clemson.”
IPTAY’s Bert Henderson said the Merritts “personify the Clemson Tiger spirit.” Merritt said, “What we do is out of love for Clemson and the people of Clemson.”
July 22, 2021
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