Susan Merritt, Founding Dean of Seidenberg Computing School at Pace University, to Resign in June

Susan M. Merritt, PhD, the computing pioneer who founded the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University a quarter century ago, has announced her intention to resign as dean of the school as of the end of this academic year.


Contact: Bill Caldwell, Office of Public Information, Pace University, 212-346-1597,


NEW YORK, NY – March 14, 2008 – Susan M. Merritt, PhD, the computing pioneer who founded the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University a quarter century ago, has announced her intention to resign as dean of the school as of the end of this academic year.

Merritt is completing her 25th year as founding dean of the Seidenberg School, and her 35th year at Pace. Under her, Pace was among the first in the country to combine software with systems development and applications in the same comprehensive school.

Reflecting Pace’s century-old mission, the school is grounded in theory and fundamental principles but also provides experience in the practice of computing. Students work on projects ranging from website development for nonprofit organizations to studies of major technology firms like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle.

“Generations of students have been the beneficiaries of Sue Merritt’s outstanding leadership, and all of us who have had the opportunity to work with her have been enriched by that experience,” said Geoffrey L. Brackett, DPhil (Oxon), Provost and Executive Vice President at Pace. “Personally, I am grateful for her wisdom and friendship.”

Merritt was trained as a computer scientist at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where she was one of the first two Ph.D. students in computer science. Her tenure as dean is the longest of any dean at Pace. Under her leadership, the Seidenberg School:

• Received the largest gift in the history of the University, a $15 million endowment from Pace alumnus and Verizon Communications CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg ’81. The endowment supports general needs of the school and a scholarship program for outstanding undergraduates, who are known as Seidenberg Scholars. That program is now attracting some of the nation’s most promising computer-minded undergraduates. Merritt is convinced one of them eventually will “found the next Google.”

• Started overcoming the nationwide decline in computing enrollments. Undergraduate applications for fall 2008 have increased by 29 percent.

• Achieved accreditation by ABET, Inc., the national organization for the accreditation of computing, engineering, technology, and applied science programs. The Seidenberg School received accreditation for both its computer science and information systems programs.

• Developed innovative programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels such as an online program offering advanced certificates and undergraduate degrees to unionized workers at three of the nation’s largest telecommunications firms.

• Created programs in computer literacy for all undergraduates as part of the Pace core curriculum.

• Led the University in government, foundation, and corporate funding, bringing in more dollars per faculty member than any other school in the University.

• Was twice designated as one of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

• Became a national leader in distance education, earning three national awards and over $2 million in external funding.

• Became a leader in tailoring computing education to corporations, providing multi-year programs for IBM, The Bank of New York, MetLife, and an array of telecommunications companies including Verizon.

• Attracted an unusually diverse faculty and student body, welcoming minorities and especially women in what has been a male-dominated field.

Said Merritt: “It has been a privilege and an extraordinary experience to be at the center of a transforming field and to lead the development of a new school at Pace for its first 25 years. It has been a gift to participate in the critical work of educating thousands of students who have gone on to build productive lives, to give back to their communities, and to make contributions throughout the world. I have great confidence in the future of the Seidenberg School and in the greatness of Pace University.”

A tenured faculty member of Pace, Merritt will take a sabbatical and consider future plans.

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, established in 1983, is the youngest of the six schools within Pace University. In addition to being one of the first comprehensive schools of computing in the country, it remains in the forefront of the field. Its mission is to prepare men and women for professional work, research, and lifelong participation in a new and dynamic information age. The school offers a student-centered environment; small classes; committed teaching; research with professors; innovative programs, projects, and partnerships; and convenient multi-campus locations in New York City and Westchester County as well as online courses and programs.

Inherent in the school’s activities and services to students, businesses, and the community is the belief that information technologies are tools for the empowerment of people.

For 101 years Pace University has combined exceptional academics with professional experiences and the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, and School of Law, as well as the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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