Midwestern State University
"When I started in 1983, I was single, 40 pounds lighter and driving across the state in a white Chevrolet and an AM radio."
Actually, Barb Merkle's career in higher education started as an adjunct faculty member at Midwestern State in 1977. She joined Midwestern full time as an Assistant Director of Admissions in 1983 and her affiliation with TACRAO began. In 1988, she became the Director of School Relations. In 2001, she was named the Director of Admissions. And on August 31 of this year, she retired from Midwestern State. Upon her retirement, she was bestowed the honor of Director of Admissions, Emeritus.
Among her contributions to TACRAO - Barb has presented countless times, moderated and facilitated many presentations and served on numerous planning committees. In 1990-91 she was appointed to the High School Relations committee, where she served until 1996. She also served on the Resolutions Committee and was Chair in 2001-2002. Among her favorite memories of TACRAO - working with colleagues such as Marcilla Collinsworth and Marty Grassel on the High School Relations Committee; coordinating the hospitality room when TACRAO visited Wichita Falls in 2003, which she commented, "Great party and we like to think we set the bar for hospitality rooms!" Anyone like a John Hall or a Mike Allen?!!!
One of Barb's nominators expressed her standing in TACRAO this way, "For those of us who travelled the road in the 90's - she was one of those people recruiters looked up to and utilized for information. Personally, she was a mentor of mine and several others. She helped me get my first Director's job and helped others network so we could stay in the profession."
Jamie Hansard, former Midwestern recruiter and now Director of Recruitment and Marketing at Texas Tech shared this about Mrs. Merkle, "Barb was and still is a mentor to many in the admissions profession. She provided insight and guidance to all that had the pleasure of coming into contact with her. She's logged more miles on the road than a truck driver, as she made stops all across Texas and Oklahoma encouraging students to pursue their dreams. From her awesome parties after the Wichita Falls program, which was the only reason people made the trek to Wichita Falls, to her razor sharp tongue that captured your attention she will be greatly missed!"
Chris Gore, former Associate Director of Admissions at Midwestern and now Director of New Student Relation at Kilgore College adds, "From those viewing Barb from a distance, one quickly notes the keen sense of humor, sharp wit, and impeccable delivery. This is spot on. Barb is one of the funniest people I have ever known. However, to assume she is just a funny lady whose office must be borderline comedy club is to be gravely mistaken. Barb is an enforcer of higher standards in education."
He continues, "She has vision and the resolve to implement it. Given her August retirement, it is too soon for Midwestern State to grasp the contributions she made to the University during her career. Although the dust is still settling in Wichita Falls, the personal influence does register. Barb remains an inspiring professional, supportive mentor, and true friend to me and many others in our organization, around the state and beyond Texas borders."
In addition to TACRAO, Barb has also served and held regional and national positions in TACAC, NACAC, AACRAO, SACRAO, The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and The College Board. Due to her Emeritus status, Barb will continue to work with College Board as the chair of the Southwestern Regional Council and on the National College Planning Advisory Council.
Barb has been married to Greg for 25 years and has one son, Anthony, who is 24. Barb intends to "do some consulting, continue to promote higher education and travel on Greg Merkle's dime." In fact, she has just returned from Italy!
Barb states it simply, "TACRAO is like family."
Well, Barb, on behalf of the TACRAO family, we would like to extend our congratulations and honor you with Honorary Membership.