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Mercer University is an independent, private, coeducational university with a Baptist heritage located in the U.S. state of Georgiamarker.

Mercer is the only university of its size in the United Statesmarker that offers programs in eleven diversified fields of study: liberal arts, business, education, music, engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law, theology, and continuing and professional studies. Mercer enrolls approximately 8,000 students in its eleven colleges and schools. Students come from approximately 45 states and 65 countries, more than 80% are Georgia residents.

Mercer has major campuses in Maconmarker, Atlantamarker, and Savannahmarker, regional academic centers for working adult students in Henry Countymarker, Douglas Countymarker, and Eastmanmarker, teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah, a university press and a performing arts center in Macon, and an engineering research center in Warner Robinsmarker. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia with a NCAA Division I athletic program.



History



Founding

Mercer University was founded in Penfield, Georgiamarker as a boys' preparatory school under the leadership of Billington McCarthy Sanders, a professor who served as the first president, and Adiel Sherwood, a Baptist minister who previously founded a boys' manual labor school that served as a model. Initially named Mercer Institute, the school opened with 39 students on January 14, 1833. The school was named for Jesse Mercer, a prominent Baptist leader who provided a founding endowment and who served as the first chairman of the board of trustees. The Georgia General Assembly granted a university charter in December 1837. Mercer adopted its present name in 1838 and graduated its first university class, of three students, in 1841. Mercer was one of the few Southern colleges or universities and the only college or university in Georgia to remain open throughout the American Civil War. In 1866, Mercer awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the only college or university to grant him an honorary degree.

Mercer moved to Maconmarker, a center of transportation and commerce in Georgia, in 1871. The School of Law was established in 1873 and was named the Walter F. George School of Law in 1947 in honor of Mercer alumnus Walter F. George, class of 1901, who served as a United States Senator from Georgia and as President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

Expansion

Mercer expanded to Atlantamarker in 1959 when the university absorbed the independent Southern School of Pharmacy. The College of Liberal Arts, the Walter F. George School of Law, and the Southern School of Pharmacy comprised the university until 1972 when Mercer merged with Atlanta Baptist College, which became Mercer's Atlanta campus.

Atlanta Baptist College was founded in 1968 under the leadership of Dr. Monroe F. Swilley, a prominent Baptist educator. The college merged with Mercer in 1972 and became the College of Arts and Sciences, and in 1984 was named the Cecil B. Day College of Arts and Sciences. Mercer offered undergraduate liberal arts education in Atlanta until 1990 when the college closed. Faculty and students tried to prevent the closure, but were not successful. The mission of the Atlanta campus changed to graduate and professional education. The Southern School of Pharmacy moved in 1992 from its downtown location to the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus.

Mercer grew substantially between 1982 and 2006 with the establishment of eight colleges and schools: the School of Medicine in 1982, the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics in 1984, the School of Engineering in 1985, the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology in 1994, the Tift College of Education in 1995, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing in 2001, the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, and the Townsend School of Music in 2006.

Mercer opened the Savannahmarker campus in 2008. The campus is the location of Mercer's second four-year medical school, which opened at the same time.

Advancing the Vision Campaign



Mercer successfully completed Phase III of the $350 million Advancing the Vision Campaign in December 2008. Phases I and II were completed with $208 million received or pledged. For Phase II, Mercer received one of the largest gifts in the history of higher education when it received a large tract of developed real estate in Atlanta. The property, given to Mercer and to LaGrange College jointly, was valued at $123 million. The campaign financed numerous projects including the construction and renovation of facilities and endowed scholarships for students. New facilities on the Macon campus include the University Centermarker, a large multi-purpose facility that houses the university's athletics department, basketball arena, and student services, the Allan and Rosemary McCorkle Music Building that houses the Townsend School of Music, a new Science and Engineering Building, and the Greek Village with 18 fraternity and sorority houses. New facilities on the Atlanta campus include academic buildings for the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, the Tift College of Education, and the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing as well as a large student housing complex.

Georgia Baptist Convention

In November 2005, the Georgia Baptist Convention voted to end the affiliation between Mercer and the convention. Mercer was founded by Georgia Baptists, but had an independent board of trustees and was not directly controlled by the convention. The convention provided financial support used to fund scholarships for Baptist students and other special projects. The lack of convention control caused friction with Mercer exercising its independence to embrace the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The convention also saw Mercer as becoming secularized and not falling inline with its values. The relationship came to a head in 2005 when Mercer allowed a student gay-rights group to hold a Coming Out Day forum on campus. An article about the group, Mercer Triangle Symposium, and the Coming Out Day forum was published in the convention's newsletter, the Christian Index, two weeks before the convention's annual meeting. At the meeting, then university president Dr. R. Kirby Godsey asked the convention to continue its affiliation with Mercer. He explained the Mercer administration did not endorse homosexuality, but allowed students to discuss the topic. Despite the assurances, the convention voted to end the affiliation. In April 2006, Mercer's board of trustees approved changes to the university charter ending Mercer's relationship with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Jesse Mercer Plaza on the Macon campus.
There is an identical statue on the Atlanta campus.


Baptist affiliation

Mercer chose to retain its Baptist identity when its affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention ended in 2006 after 173 years. Mercer has ties to individual churches, provides scholarships to students through its Baptist Scholars Fund, and has the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, which is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Mercer's decision to become an independent Baptist university contrasts with other universities that became secular after severing ties with their state conventions. Such universities include Furman Universitymarker, Stetson Universitymarker, the University of Richmondmarker, and Wake Forest Universitymarker.

President Godsey retires

Dr. R. Kirby Godsey retired on June 30, 2006 after 27 years as Mercer's president. During Godsey's tenure, Mercer established seven new colleges and schools, growing from four to eleven, expanded its annual budget to more than $175 million, and increased the endowment to almost $200 million with an additional $200+ million pledged in planned gifts. Both houses of the Georgia legislature honored his service and Mercer's historic Administration Building was named the R. Kirby Godsey Administration Building. United States Senator Saxby Chambliss also honored Godsey before the United States Senate. Godsey remains at Mercer as chancellor, professor, and special advisor to new president, William D. Underwood. Underwood, former interim president, Baylor Universitymarker, was selected as Godsey's replacement in December 2005. Underwood took office on July 1, 2006.

New strategic plan

Mercer's board of trustees adopted a new 10-year strategic plan on April 18, 2008. The plan seeks to position Mercer among the most prestigious private universities in the Southeast along with Vanderbilt Universitymarker, Duke Universitymarker, Emory Universitymarker, Wake Forest Universitymarker, and Tulane Universitymarker. Specific goals of the plan include increasing the student body from 7,300 to 8,500, enlarging the endowment to $1 billion, expanding the number of master's and doctoral programs, and constructing numerous new facilities including a medical education building in Savannah, a student center and an undergraduate sciences building in Macon, a chapel/performing arts center in Atlanta, and residence halls in Macon and Atlanta.

Presidents

Billington Sanders, Mercer's first President
  • Billington McCarthy Sanders (1833–1840)
  • Otis Smith (1840–1844)
  • John Leadley Dagg (1844–1854)
  • Nathaniel Macon Crawford(1854–1856)
  • Shelton Palmer Sanford (acting President; 1856–1858)
  • Nathaniel Macon Crawford (1858–1866)
  • Henry Holcombe Tucker (1866–1871)
  • Archibald John Battle (1872–1889)
  • Gustavus Alonzo Nunnally (1889–1893)
  • Joseph Edgerton Willet (acting President; 1893)
  • James Bruton Gambrell (1893–1896)
  • Pinckney Daniel Pollock (1896–1903)
  • Matthew Quinn Wetherington (acting President; 1903–1905)
  • William Heard Kilpatrick (acting President; 1903–1905)
  • Charles Lee Smith (1905–1906)
  • Samuel Young Jameson (1906–1913)
  • James Freeman Sellers (acting President; 1913–1914)
  • William Lowndes Pickard (1914–1918)
  • Rufus Washington Weaver (1918–1927)
  • Andrew Phillip Montague (acting President; 1927–1928)
  • Spright Dowell (1928–1953)
  • George Boyce Connell (1953–1959)
  • Spright Dowell (interim President; 1959–1960)
  • Rufus Carrollton Harris (1960–1979)
  • Raleigh Kirby Godsey (1979–2006)
  • William D. Underwood (2006–present)


Location

R.
Kirby Godsey Administration Building
Walter F.
George School of Law


Macon campus

The main campus of Mercer University is in Maconmarker, approximately south of Atlantamarker. The College of Liberal Arts, the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, the Tift College of Education, the Townsend School of Music, the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, and programs of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies are located on the Macon campus. The R. Kirby Godsey Administration Building and the W. G. Lee Alumni House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Law school

The Walter F. George School of Law is located on its own campus in Macon, one mile (1.6 km) from the main campus. The Law School building is a three-story partial replica of Independence Hallmarker in Philadelphiamarker and is located on Coleman Hill overlooking downtown Macon. Adjacent to the Law School is the university-owned Woodruff House, a Greek revival-style mansion built in 1836, which is used for university special events. The Law School building and the Woodruff House are two of Macon's most recognizable sites.

Atlanta campus

The Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus of Mercer University is in Atlanta. The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, and programs of the Tift College of Education (Master's and PhD programs), the Stetson School of Business and Economics (BBA, MBA and Executive MBA programs), and the School of Medicine (Master's program) are located on the Atlanta campus. Mercer's Atlanta campus was formerly the home of Atlanta Baptist College until it merged with Mercer in 1972. The campus is named for Cecil B. Day, founder of Days Inn Hotels who attended Mercer before leaving to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

Mercer enlarged the Atlanta campus in 2004 by acquiring the former headquarters of the Georgia Baptist Convention. The headquarters building, renamed the Mercer University Conference and Administration Center, is occupied by the American Baptist Historical Society and the Baptist History and Heritage Society.

Woodruff House, a Greek revival-style mansion built in 1836, used for university special events
Science and Engineering Building, opened in 2007 for the School of Engineering


Regional academic centers

Mercer has regional academic centers in Douglas Countymarker, Henry Countymarker and Eastmanmarker. The centers offer undergraduate and graduate degrees for working adults.

The Douglas County Regional Academic Center was named in 2007 in honor of Fred and Aileen Borrish. The Borrishes are longtime benefactors of Mercer University and of education in Douglas County. The formal name of the academic center is the Fred W. and Aileen Kasper Borrish Building.

The Henry County Regional Academic Center opened in 2003. The new facility combined programs previously offered at two smaller facilities in Covingtonmarker and Griffinmarker. The Henry County center is located in McDonoughmarker.

The Eastman Regional Academic Center is located in Dodge Countymarker. The center extends Mercer's educational offerings to areas south of Maconmarker.

Teaching hospitals

Mercer's teaching hospitals are the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Maconmarker and Memorial University Medical Center in Savannahmarker.

Savannah campus

Mercer opened a new four-year medical school in Savannah in August 2008. The school is a branch of the School of Medicine in Macon and is located at Memorial University Medical Center, Mercer's teaching hospital in Savannah. The new medical school is the university's third major campus in addition to those in Macon and Atlanta. Mercer's strategic plan calls for construction of a new medical education building that will further enlarge the Savannah campus.

Colleges and schools

College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts, founded in 1833, is the heart of the university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts, humanities, communications, natural sciences, and social sciences. The college, with more than 100 full-time faculty members, offers dozens of majors, minors, and concentrations, and has a Great Books Program for students who wish to study Western civilization from ancient time to the present by examining major works of literature. The Great Books Program, an eight semester sequence of courses, may be completed in lieu of the college's general education curriculum.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Mercer's academic building for the Eugene W.
Stetson School of Business and Economics and the Tift College of Education on the Atlanta campus


The Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, founded in 1984, has the highest level of accreditation for business schools from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The school, named for a Mercer alumnus who was a senior executive for The Coca-Cola Company, the Illinois Central Railroad, and JP Morgan, offers bachelor's degree (BBA) programs in Macon, Atlanta, and Douglas County, Evening MBA programs in Macon and Atlanta, Professional MBA programs in Henry County and Savannah, and an Executive MBA program in Atlanta.

The Mercer University Executive Forum, Georgia's premier business outreach program, is a part of the school. The program welcomes nationally known speakers who conduct management and leadership seminars in Macon and Atlanta. Speakers have included Lou Dobbs, Bob Dole, Steve Forbes, Lou Holtz, Jesse Jackson, Tom Ridge, George Tenet, George Will, Bob Woodward, and numerous other business, political, and social leaders.

Tift College of Education

The Tift College of Education, founded in 1995 as the School of Education, has the highest level of accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is the largest private provider of teachers in Georgia. The college was named in 2001 to honor the legacy of Tift College, a Baptist women's college in Forsythmarker. Tift College, founded in 1849, merged with Mercer in 1986 and was closed. Mercer adopted its alumnae and maintains their records.

The Tift College of Education offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs on the Macon and Atlanta campuses. The Educational Leadership Program is the newest graduate offering with candidates earning a Doctor of Philosophy in P-12 School Leadership or Higher Education Leadership.

In December 2008, Mercer announced a Doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction with the first students to enroll in fall 2009.

Townsend School of Music

Allan and Rosemary McCorkle Music Building, home of the Townsend School of Music


The Townsend School of Music opened on July 1, 2006. Mercer trustee Carolyn McAfee, wife of James T. McAfee, Jr., former chairman of Mercer's board of trustees, and her son and daughter-in-law, Tom McAfee and his wife Julie, provided the founding endowment. The school, named in honor of Mrs. McAfee's parents, Raymond and Sophia Townsend, is housed in the Allan and Rosemary McCorkle Music Building, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2001 on the Macon campus. The Townsend School of Music offers undergraduate and graduate music degrees formerly offered by the College of Liberal Arts.

The Townsend-McAfee Institute, established in 2005, is a collaboration between the Townsend School of Music and the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology offering graduate programs in church music that prepare musical artists for the ministry. The institute, located on the Macon campus with the School of Music, is preparing a new hymnal for Baptists and other Christian fellowships. Slated for release in 2009, the 400th anniversary of Baptists, the project demonstrates Mercer’s commitment to its church-related heritage and connects with the university’s namesake, Jesse Mercer, who authored Cluster of Spiritual Songs, a hymnal first published circa 1800 with 11 subsequent editions.

The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings offers conservatory-quality music training in a comprehensive university setting. McDuffie is an internationally renowned violinist who has served as Distinguished University Professor of Music since 2004. The focus of the center, housed in the School of Music on the Macon campus, is to provide highly talented string students the opportunity to learn with some of the nation's most renowned string musicians. Total enrollment is limited to 26 students: 12 violinists, 6 violists, 6 cellists and 2 double bassists.

School of Engineering

Science and Engineering Building, home of the School of Engineering


The School of Engineering, founded in 1985, is the only private engineering school in Georgia and one of only three engineering schools in the state, the others are Georgia Institute of Technologymarker and Southern Polytechnic State Universitymarker. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is the primary provider of engineers for Robins Air Force Basemarker in Warner Robins, Georgiamarker. The school is located on the Macon campus in a modern academic facility. Mercer dedicated a new $14 million Science and Engineering Building adjacent to the existing facility in 2007; the new building significantly expands the school's laboratory and classroom resources. Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC), an extension of the school located in a state-of-the-art facility in Warner Robins, directly supports Robins AFB and offers significant research opportunities for students and faculty. In addition, the school's National Engineering Advisory Board, composed of some of the nation's most respected corporate leaders including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and Georgia Pacific, provides premier research and career opportunities for students.

The School of Engineering and Robins Air Force Basemarker maintain an educational partnership that provides on-base internships and other learning opportunities for aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering students. The partnership is separate from the Mercer Engineering and Research Center, which is located near the base in Warner Robins. The educational partnership is one of two maintained by Mercer University, the other involves the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and Piedmont Healthcaremarker of Atlanta.

The Clinton Global Initiative University, a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, recognized Mercer University in 2009 for its Mercer On Mission project, which provides amputees in developing nations with low-cost prosthetics. The prosthetics use a universal socket technology developed by School of Engineering faculty and students. Mercer On Mission was one of only three university projects recognized by former President Bill Clinton at the CGI University annual conference.

School of Medicine

School of Medicine


The School of Medicine, founded in 1982, is partially state funded and accepts only Georgia residents into the Doctor of Medicine program. The school's core mission is to train primary care physicians and other health professionals for service in rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. The school is consistently recognized for its focus on family medicine, and in 2005, US News and World Report ranked the school 17th out of 126 accredited medical schools in the family medicine category. In addition to the Doctor of Medicine, the school offers master's programs in public health, family therapy, and nurse anesthetist. The School of Medicine's teaching hospitals are the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon and Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.

The School of Medicine received additional state funding in 2007 to expand its existing partnership with Memorial University Medical Center by establishing a four-year medical school in Savannah, the first medical school in southern Georgia. Third and fourth year Mercer students have completed clinical rotations at Memorial since 1996, approximately 100 residents are trained each year in a number of specialities. The expanded program opened in August 2008 with 30 first year students. The School of Medicine's Macon and Savannah campuses are administered by Senior Associate Deans who report to one Dean. The new medical program furthers Mercer's mission to train primary care physicians for service in rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia.

The Center for Health and Learning is an educational partnership between the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and Piedmont Healthcaremarker of Atlanta. The School of Medicine joined the partnership in September 2007 when it partnered with Piedmont to offer a Masters in family therapy on the Atlanta campus. Piedmont is a not-for-profit organization with several hospitals, including Piedmont Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital, both recognized as among the best in the nation, a primary care physician group with approximately 20 clinics, and a physician network with approximately 500 members. Family therapy students are provided learning experiences at various facilities throughout the Piedmont system.

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing was founded in 1901 as the Baptist Tabernacle Infirmary, an independent institution in Atlanta. The college was renamed the Baptist Tabernacle Infirmary and Training School for Nurses when nursing education began in 1902. The college, named the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing in 1993, merged with Mercer in 2001 and moved from its downtown location to Mercer's Atlanta campus in 2002. The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs and provides clinical experiences at numerous Atlanta-area hospitals and at other community facilities.

The Center for Health and Learning is an educational partnership between the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and Piedmont Healthcaremarker of Atlanta. Piedmont is a not-for-profit organization with several hospitals, including Piedmont Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital, both recognized as among the best in the nation; a primary care physician group with approximately 20 clinics; and a physician network with approximately 500 members. Nursing students are provided clinical experiences at various facilities throughout the Piedmont system.

In December 2008, Mercer announced a new Doctoral program in Nursing with the first students to enroll in fall 2009.

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, founded in 1903, was initially an independent school in Atlanta. The college merged with Mercer in 1959 and moved from its downtown location to Mercer's Atlanta campus in 1992. In 1981, the college became the first in the southeast and the fifth in the nation to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy, the highest level of pharmacy education, as its sole professional degree. The college, formerly named the Southern School of Pharmacy, adopted its current name on July 1, 2006. The name change reflects additional health science programs, including a physician assistant program, offered by the college.

In September 2009, Mercer announced a new Doctor of Physical Therapy program with the first students to enroll in fall 2010.

Walter F.
George School of Law


Walter F. George School of Law

The Walter F. George School of Law, founded in 1873, is one of the oldest law schools in the United States. The school is named for a Mercer alumnus, former United States Senator Walter F. George. Additional information is available on the school's Wikipedia entry.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

The James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, founded in 1994, offers graduate theological programs and is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. McAfee's curriculum is not directed by the Georgia Baptist Convention or Southern Baptist Convention. The school, located on the Atlanta campus, is named for James T. McAfee, Jr., former chairman of Mercer's board of trustees, and his wife Carolyn. The McAfees provided a founding endowment.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, a statue of Jesse Mercer is in the foreground


The McAfee School of Theology and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are "identity partners"; announced in 2006, the CBF provides funding for operating costs, scholarships, and collaborative projects. The designation, which grants the highest level of CBF funding, is held by four theology schools, the McAfee School of Theology, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor Universitymarker, the Divinity School at Campbell Universitymarker, and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

The American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), with the largest and most diverse collection of Baptist historical materials and archives in the world, is located on the Atlanta campus. The ABHS moved to Atlanta in 2008 from Valley Forge, Pennsylvaniamarker and Rochester, New Yorkmarker. The organization is housed in the Mercer University Conference and Administration Center, formerly occupied by the Georgia Baptist Convention. The ABHS provides research opportunities for Baptist scholars and positions Mercer and the McAfee School of Theology as a national center of Baptist scholarship.

The Baptist History and Heritage Society (BHHS), founded in 1938 as the Southern Baptist Historical Society, relocated from Brentwood, Tennesseemarker to the Atlanta campus in 2007. The BHHS, an independent organization with historic ties to the Southern Baptist Convention, is housed in the former Georgia Baptist Convention headquarters building along with the American Baptist Historical Society. The two organizations complement each other by providing resources on the American Baptist tradition and the Southern Baptist tradition, which further enhances Mercer's position as a national center of Baptist scholarship.

College of Continuing and Professional Studies

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies, founded in 2003, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees for working adults. Courses are offered on the Macon and Atlanta campuses and at the regional academic centers in Henry County, Douglas County, and Eastman.

The Public Safety Leadership Institute on the Atlanta campus offers educational programs for law enforcement and other public safety officials. The curriculum focuses on organizational leadership, liberal studies, and human resources administration within governmental organizations in the rapidly changing post 9/11 world. The institute has been endorsed by numerous law enforcement organizations.

In July 2009, Mercer announced a new undergraduate degree in public safety, reformulated from the college's criminal justice major, with the first students to enroll in fall 2009. The degree complements the college's master of science in public safety leadership.

Other university divisions

Mercer libraries

Jack Tarver Library


Mercer University has four libraries, which are organized as a separate division alongside the eleven colleges and schools. The Jack Tarver Library, located on the Macon campus, is the largest. The Medical Library and Peyton T. Anderson Resources Center, located in the School of Medicine, and the Furman Smith Law Library, located in the Walter F. George School of Law, are also in Macon. The Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. Library is on the Atlanta campus. Each library has a wide variety of print and non-print resources.

Opera House

The Grand Opera Housemarker is Mercer's Performing Arts Center. Located in downtown Macon and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Grand opened in 1884 with the largest stage in the southeastern United Statesmarker. The Grand has hosted vaudeville performances, Broadwaymarker touring companies, community theatre, concerts, movies, and numerous other events. Mercer has operated the Grand since 1995 through a lease agreement with Bibb Countymarker. The Grand has undergone extensive renovation and regularly hosts special events that are open to the community.

University Press

The Mercer University Press (MUP), established in 1979, is the only Baptist-related university press in the nation. MUP has published more than 1,000 books generally in the areas of theology, religion, Southern culture, biography, history, literature and music. MUP's annual Authors Luncheon, a book-signing event in Atlanta, is Georgia's premier literary event. Former President Jimmy Carter and civil rights activist Will D. Campbell are among MUP's published authors. Campbell's book The Stem of Jesse, a history of Mercer in the 1960s, discusses integration of the university. The book, named for university founder Jesse Mercer, profiles notable alumni including Sam Oni and Samaria Mitcham Bailey. Oni was the first student of African descent to be admitted to Mercer University. Bailey was one of the first African-American female students at Mercer.

Engineering Research Center

The Mercer Engineering and Research Center (MERC) is in Warner Robins, Georgiamarker. Established in 1987 as an extension of the School of Engineering, MERC has extensive research agreements with Robins Air Force Basemarker and the U.S.marker Department of Defensemarker, as well as with private concerns.

Radio station

Mercer established its first radio station as a physics class project in 1922. The call sign was WMAZ, which stood for “Watch Mercer Attain Zenith”. The student-run station operated from the tower of Willingham Chapel until 1927 when Mercer gave WMAZ to the Maconmarker Junior Chamber of Commerce. WMAZ was purchased by the Southeastern Broadcasting Company in 1935 and a television station added with the same call sign in 1953. The radio station was subsequently dropped, but the television station remains a CBS affiliate, WMAZ-TVmarker Channel 13.

Mercer and Georgia Public Broadcastingmarker partnered in 2006 to create WMUM-FMmarker, formerly WDCO-FM. The station provides local content to central Georgia public radio listeners from its broadcast studio on the Macon campus. The station's call sign was changed to WMUM-FM to identify the partnership with "Mercer University Macon". The studio, constructed in 2006, offers various media-related educational opportunities for Mercer students.

Student life

Religious life

Mercer, a faith-based university with a Baptist heritage, has an active religious life program for students seeking that experience. Religion, however, is not overly prominent; Mercer has an independent board of trustees and is not controlled by the church. Students are not required to attend religious services and the only religion-related curriculum requirement for undergraduates is that they take an introductory course in the New or Old Testament.

Student organizations

Mercer has over 100 undergraduate student organizations that provide learning experiences outside the classroom. Students may choose from academic, pre-professional, religious, special-interest, and social organizations including a campus newspaper, a student-operated internet radio station, and 18 Greek organizations.

Mercer's Greek social organizations are:

Traditional African-American Fraternities:



Traditional African-American Sororities:



Fraternities:



Sororities:



Mercer's graduate and professional schools sponsor numerous student organizations as well.

Mercer's Computer Science Programming Team, the "Binary Bears," earned an Honorable Mention in the 2007 ACM World Finals Programming Competition held in Tokyo, Japanmarker. Mercer was one of 88 teams out of more than 6,000 teams from 75 countries that advanced to the championship round; the team qualified for Mercer's first appearance in the event after finishing second in the Southeast regional competition.

Athletics

Mercer Bears logo


Mercer is an NCAA Division I member competing in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Mercer joined the Atlantic Sun, formerly called the Trans American Athletic Conference, in 1978 and is the only charter member remaining with the conference. The university fields varsity teams, known as the Bears, in six men's, seven women's, and one co-educational sport. Men's teams include baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, and tennis. Women's teams include basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Air-rifle is co-educational. Mercer teams have won 13 Atlantic Sun Conference championships (as of May 2007): three baseball, three men's basketball, two women's basketball, and five men's soccer.

Lacrosse

Mercer announced in June 2009 it will add men's lacrosse in 2010 and women's lacrosse in 2011. The programs will be the first in Georgia at the Division I level.

Facilities

Mercer's University Center


Mercer opened the University Centermarker on the Macon campus in 2004. The $40 million center houses Mercer's athletics department, a 3,500-seat basketball arena, an indoor pool, work-out facilities, intramural basketball courts, an air-rifle range, offices, a food court, and numerous meeting facilities. Mercer's baseball, softball, and intramural fields are next to the center along with the university's tennis complex. In 2007, a 101-room Hilton Garden Inn opened on university-owned land adjacent to the University Centermarker.

Men's Basketball

Bob Hoffman was named men's basketball head coach in March 2008. Hoffman replaced Mark Slonaker who served as head coach for ten seasons and who was the 2002-03 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year. Slonaker received that award after leading Mercer to the best one season turnaround in NCAA history, improving from 6-23 to 23-6. The team won the Atlantic Sun regular season championship with a 14-2 conference record and made school history for number of wins (23); Mercer won 22 games in 1923-24 and 1984-85. The season ended with a loss in the Atlantic Sun tournament. Slonaker was the first National Coach of the Year to receive the award after it was named in honor of Jim Phelan. The four other finalists were Lute Olson (Arizona), Skip Prosser (Wake Forest), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin), and Tubby Smith (Kentucky). Mercer did not maintain this level of success, which prompted the university to hire a new head coach. Prior to Mercer, Hoffman was head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a National Basketball Association developmental league team. As of the start of the 2008-09 season, Hoffman's overall record as a head coach at the collegiate level is 400-171. When his first Mercer team takes the court, he will rank among the top 25 active collegiate coaches in winning percentage. Hoffman and Mercer president William D. Underwood are both graduates of Oklahoma Baptist University.

Mercer's basketball alumni include Sam Mitchell, a retired NBA player who became head coach of the Toronto Raptors. Mitchell was drafted with the seventh pick of the third round (54th overall) by the Houston Rockets in the 1985 NBA draft. He scored nearly 2,000 points at Mercer, the leading scorer in team history, and led Mercer to the 1985 Trans-America Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. Mitchell is a current member of the university board of trustees.

More recent alumni include Will Emerson, a forward on the men's basketball team, who was the 2004-05 and 2005-06 Atlantic Sun Conference Male Student Athlete of the Year, only the third person to be selected twice for the award. Emerson was also named to ESPN the Magazine's Academic All-American first team in 2005 and 2006.

Mercer received national attention in November 2007 when they defeated the University of Southern Californiamarker, which was ranked 18th in the nation at the time of the game. In November 2008, Mercer again received national attention by defeating Auburn Universitymarker and the University of Alabamamarker.

Women's Basketball

Jannell Jones was named women's basketball head coach in April 2007. Jones is a two-time NAIA National Coach of the Year; she was recognized at Oklahoma City University where she was a part of four NAIA national championship teams (two as head coach and two as an assistant). Jones is also the winningest coach in OCU history. Jones came to Mercer from the University of California, San Diegomarker where she was head coach from 2005 to 2007 including an appearance in the 2007 NCAA Division II Final Four.

Baseball

Mercer fielded its first baseball team in 1871. Cy Young coached the team in 1903 leading it to the Georgia State Championship. In recent years, Mercer has won three Atlantic Sun Conference championships, the last in 1983. Since the program began in 1871, ten Mercer players have advanced to the Major Leagues.

Football

Mercer does not compete in football. The program was discontinued during World War II and was not revived. The final game was in 1942.

Mercer played the University of Georgiamarker in UGA's first football game; UGA won 50-0 on January 15, 1892. Later the same year, Mercer played Georgia Tech in GT's first football game; Mercer won 12-6 on November 5, 1892. Wally Butts, arguably one of the greatest football personalities in Georgia history, played at Mercer. Butts later served as the head coach at the University of Georgia from 1939 to 1960 and as UGA athletic director from 1939 to 1963. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Famemarker.

Mercer announced in 2007 it will study the addition of football along with other improvements to the athletics department. Mercer President William D. Underwood indicated tentative support for football if the program can be financially viable, enhances the academic mission of the university, and if the team can be competitive within those financial and academic constraints.

In the press

US News and World Report, in the 2010 edition of its college and university rankings, ranks Mercer eighth in the Southern "Best Universities-Master's" category marking the university's twentieth consecutive year among the top 15 and eleventh consecutive year in the top 10. The 2010 edition also ranks Mercer among the "Great Schools, Great Prices" as the sixth best value in the South.

The Princeton Review, in its "Best 371 Colleges" guide, ranks Mercer in the top fifteen percent of all colleges and universities nationwide. The 2007 edition ranked Mercer's campus as the fifth most beautiful in the nation. In addition, in its "America's Best Value Colleges" guide, the Princeton Review lists Mercer as a "Best Value", one of 165 colleges and universities in the nation that combine excellent academics, generous financial aid packages, and a relatively low cost of attendance; in the 2008 edition, Mercer is one of 75 private institutions among the 165 "Best Values".

US News and World Report ranks the School of Medicine in the top 20 of the nation's 126 accredited medical schools in the family medicine category, the school's primary focus, and ranks the Walter F. George School of Law in Tier 3 with schools ranked 101 through 137 of the nation's 184 accredited law schools. The same edition ranks Mercer's legal writing program second in the nation. The legal writing program has been ranked first or second since US News and World Report began the speciality ranking in 2006. The program was ranked first in 2006 (tied with one other school), second in 2007, and first in 2008 and 2009.

The Princeton Review, in its "Best 301 Business Schools: 2010 Edition", ranks the Atlanta MBA program third in the nation in the category of "Greatest Opportunity for Women". The program was ranked first in 2008 and third in 2009. The Princeton Review also includes the Walter F. George School of Law in its "Best 174 Law Schools: 2010 Edition".

In 2007, Mercer was one of 141 colleges and universities selected for the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; the honor roll is sponsored by several agencies including the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Developmentmarker to recognize support for community service. In 2005, Mercer was one of 81 institutions of higher education named a “College with a Conscience” by the Princeton Review and College Compact. and in 2006, Mercer was ranked thirteenth in the nation in the first “Saviors of Our Cities” ranking by Evan Dobelle, president and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education.

Mercer earned national recognition in 2008 from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for the university's commitment to community engagement. Mercer is the only college in Georgia, and one of just 119 in the United States, to be selected by the foundation for its 2008 Community Engagement Classification. The university joins 76 institutions identified in 2006, including Emory Universitymarker and Spelman College, the only other Georgia institutions to achieve the classification to date.

See also



References

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