In the Loop
General News : Jan 8, 2019

Remembering Margaret Mertz

A prolific musician, educator and leader, Dr. Margaret Stover Mertz served as the associate dean of the UF College of the Arts from 2011 to 2014.

On Jan. 4, 2019, Mertz passed away at the age of 57 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from complications arising from ovarian cancer.

“Margaret Mertz was one of the most beautiful people we have worked with in the College of the Arts,” Director of University Galleries Amy Vigilante said. “She was brilliant, insightful, kind, compassionate and very wise. Her soft manner and patient demeanor made her a rock for many of us, as well as for her family.”

Mertz was an accomplished pianist and avid reader, according to her obituary, and had a voracious appetite for music and education that she blended together throughout her life.

“She had a varied background of experiences which included key leadership roles in South Arts, the International Baccauleate Program and the Kenan Institute for the Arts in addition to her academic appointments,” said Dean Emerita Lucinda Lavelli. “She had a deep love and appreciation of the arts complemented by a strong financial sense and support for research.”

Mertz received her Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She went on to receive her master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts.

She worked as a lecturer at Harvard, instructor and department head at Armand Hammer United World College, and chair of the Department of Communication and Fine Arts at New Mexico Highlands University. Before beginning her position at the University of Florida, Mertz was appointed to the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts first as the Dean of General Studies and then as the long-term Executive Director of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.

In 2014, Mertz returned to her much loved state of New Mexico working for St. John’s College, Santa Fe and then for St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation.

“In her usual style, Margaret was private and dignified in facing this early, difficult ending to a life well lived, well appreciated and creatively approached,” Vigilante said. “Margaret loved Santa Fe always, and felt lucky to return there after meaningful travels throughout her career.

Dedicated to the arts through volunteer service and a pianist herself, Mertz founded Music from Angel Fire, a nonprofit organization that brings world-class musicians to perform masterworks in communities that would never have the opportunity to experience the joy of classical music.

“She made a lasting impact on all who worked with her and developed loyal friends across the United States,” Lavelli said. “I will remember Margaret for her zest for life and devotion to improve the arts through her career and as a volunteer.  She has left an empty place for all who knew and loved her.” 

Read Margaret's obituary here.