Made possible by a generous gift from Laurence ’60 and Susan Demers ’62, the professorship was established to attract and retain outstanding faculty who have distinguished themselves through teaching, research, scholarship and creative works.
An appointment to a named professorship is Merrimack’s most prestigious recognition of continuing scholarly achievement and distinction.
“I am honored, I am humbled,” Berkes said after the announcement. “It is a huge honor to be chosen for this professorship, and I am excited.”
Berkes will follow through with a spring-semester sabbatical that she planned before her appointment was announced. During the sabbatical, she plans to collaborate with Northeastern University’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center to identify useful new compounds for antibiotics from naturally occurring bacteria and fungi.
When she returns, Berkes will use the professorship funding to further study her work from Northeastern.
“Dr. Berkes is an outstanding choice for the professorship,: Provost Allan Weatherwax said. “This opportunity will provide support to continue her midcareer development as a teacher and researcher.”
Demers is distinguished professor emeritus of pathology and medicine at M.S. Hershey Medical Center of Pennsylvania State University. He was the founding director of clinical chemistry and the endocrine laboratory at the university hospital and director of the clinical research center core laboratory. He also served as chair of the Merrimack College board of trustees and remains deeply involved as a member of the College Leadership Council.