MaconCatalog : The University
 
The University
Mercer University is one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning, offering rigorous programs that span the undergraduate liberal arts to doctoral-level degrees. Founded by early 19th century Baptists, Mercer — while no longer formally denominationally affiliated — remains committed to an educational environment that embraces the historic Baptist principles of intellectual and religious freedom.
With more than 8,750 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at two Regional Academic Centers, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. Our more than 82,000 alumni are making important contributions to their professions and communities throughout Georgia, the Southeast and the world.
While offering a breadth of programs found at much larger universities, Mercer maintains an intimate, student-focused culture more characteristic of smaller liberal arts colleges. Mercer’s uniqueness is found in the way the University integrates five defining components of its mission: Liberal Learning, Professional Knowledge, Discovery, Service to Humankind and Community.
University Mission
Mercer University's mission is to teach, to learn, to create, to discover, to inspire, to empower and to serve. In fulfilling this mission, the University supports undergraduate, graduate and professional learning as well as basic research and its application in service to others. As a university committed to excellence and innovation, Mercer challenges members of its community to meet and exceed high standards in their teaching, learning, research, scholarship and service.
Mercer is an independent university that remains grounded in a tradition that embraces freedom of the mind and spirit, cherishes the equal worth of every individual, and commits to serving the needs of humankind. As a reflection of this heritage:
We encourage our students to discover and develop fully their unique combination of gifts and talents to become leaders who make a positive difference in the world.
We seek to inspire members of our community to live virtuous and meaningful lives by using their gifts and talents to serve the needs of humankind as an expression of their love for God and neighbor.
We seek to enrich the mind and spirit by promoting and facilitating an open and rigorous search for truth and understanding, including an examination of the moral, religious and ethical questions of this and every age.
We affirm and respect the dignity and sacred worth of every person and celebrate both our commonalities and our differences.
University Goals
To offer undergraduate, graduate and professional programs based upon a strong liberal arts foundation
To support a highly qualified faculty that is student- and teaching-oriented and is engaged in scholarly research and professional activities
To foster independent and critical thinking and a continuing interest in learning
To foster intellectual and spiritual freedom in an environment that encourages tolerance, compassion, understanding and responsibility
To offer a variety of intellectual, cultural, recreational and spiritual activities designed to enlarge capacity for improved judgment and moral, ethical and spiritual growth
To encourage the enrollment of qualified persons from diverse backgrounds and situations
To contribute campus resources, in partnership with other institutions and agencies, to improve the educational, social and economic development of the community
University-Wide Assessment
Mercer University conducts a university-wide assessment program to measure student progress toward educational goals, to evaluate academic programs, to improve learning and teaching, and to evaluate institutional effectiveness. Students are active participants in a variety of campus-based assessment activities that focus on attitudes, satisfaction and academic achievement. It is through student participation in the assessment process that the University can better understand itself and better serve its constituents.
University History
Mercer University was founded in 1833 in Penfield by Georgia Baptists. The school, under the leadership of Baptist minister and spiritual father Adiel Sherwood, was named for Jesse Mercer, a prominent Baptist leader and the first chair of the Mercer Board of Trustees.
Josiah Penfield gave the $2,500 that prompted the Georgia Baptist Convention to begin plans to open a school. Many Georgia Baptists gave matching funds for Penfield’s gift. The school opened under principal Billington Sanders.
Initially a male preparatory school named "Mercer Institute," the school at its founding consisted of a red clay farm and two hewed log cabins, valued at approximately $1,935. Enrollment for the first term was 39 students. When the school opened, there were considerably fewer and others came over the first few weeks. Tuition was $35 for the year. Board was provided at $8 per month, and each student was required to supply his own bedding, candles and furniture.
From its humble beginnings in Penfield, Mercer today is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has more than 8,750 students; 12 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, health professions, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and professional advancement; campuses in Macon, Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus; two regional academic centers in the state; a university press; five teaching hospitals; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program.
The institution’s reputation for exceptional academics in an engaged learning environment continues to grow. In 2018 the University was reclassified as a doctoral university with high research activity (R2) and is ranked in the top tier of national universities by U.S. News & World Report and is a member of the Georgia Research Alliance. Mercer has also earned a Community Engagement classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is one of only 286 institutions in the country to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Mercer in the 19th Century
1833
Mercer Institute, the forerunner of Mercer University, is founded by Georgia Baptists in Penfield as a manual labor school for boys.
 
1838
Mercer’s first Board of Trustees is elected and Mercer Institute becomes known as Mercer University.
 
1839
First college classes begin.
Female Seminary is approved by the Mercer Board of Trustees.
 
1841
First college class is graduated.
 
1843
Principal college building at Penfield is destroyed by fire.
 
Early 1860s
Mercer is one of the few colleges in the South and the only one in Georgia to remain open during the War Between the States.
 
1870
During the April 1870 Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) meeting, the decision is made to move Mercer away from Penfield. In August, the commission, appointed by the GBC to find a new location, votes to approve Macon. In September, President David E. Butler tells Macon Mayor George S. Obear and the City Council that Macon has been chosen and “that the proposition on their part to pay you the sum of $125,000 … in bonds of the city of Macon, and a site to cost not over $25,000 … was accepted.” On Oct. 28, President H.H. Tucker reports that a six-acre site, adjoining Tattnall Square, has been selected. On Nov. 2, Mayor Obear presents $125,000 in bonds and the title deed to the land; a written contract has been entered into between the Trustees and the city. The end of the year marks the closing of the school at Penfield and the University moved.
 
1871
Mercer relocates to Macon.
 
1873
A law school is organized and classes begin in February 1874. The first classes are held in the courthouse and in law offices.
 
1874
Construction of the Administration Building is completed at a cost of $100,000.
 
1880
The cornerstone of the new chapel building (current-day Willingham) is in place. The chapel is dedicated in 1881, debt-free.
 
1892
Mercer plays the University of Georgia in Athens in the first college football game in the state of Georgia and one of the first in the Southeast. The game, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day 1891, is postponed until January 1892. Georgia triumphed, 50-0.
In the fall, Mercer would record its first win in football, beating Georgia Tech, 12-6, in Macon, in the Yellow Jackets’ first game ever.
 
Mercer in the 20th Century
 
1903
Mercer opens the School of Pharmacy.
 
1918
The School of Pharmacy closes.
During World War I, the Mercer Board of Trustees authorized President Rufus W. Weaver to tender to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War the buildings and equipment of the University that they might be used effectively in service of the nation. The Student Army Training Corps is established at Mercer on Oct. 1, 1918, and continues until the following spring. Following the war, Mercer discontinues systematic military training. Altogether, Mercer’s war dead numbers 14.
 
1919
Mrs. W. E. Jackson is the first woman to receive a degree from Mercer. Mrs. Jackson, who later becomes Mrs. Joseph Seth Weekly, is awarded the LL.B. degree.
 
1922
WMAZ Radio, with call letters standing for “Watch Mercer Attain Zenith,” goes on the air, located in the tower of the chapel building.
 
1927
Mercer turns the fledgling radio station over to the Macon Junior Chamber of Commerce.
 
1939
Macon Baptist Pastors Union requests an investigation of the character of teaching in some of Mercer’s classrooms. After a 10-hour hearing held in Roberts Chapel on March 30, the Board of Trustees accepts the action of the special committee disposing of the charges.
 
1942
Mercer sets apart the Law Building and Roberts Hall for use by the War Training Service during World War II.
 
1943
The Navy V-12 School is established on July 1 and continues until October 1945. Mercer is one of nine institutions in the Southeast selected to give aviation instruction in the Navy War Training Service. During this period, 731 trainees receive basic aviation instruction in the Mercer V-12 program.
1949
Mercer dedicates the restored Mercer Chapel at Penfield with Dr. Louie D. Newton as speaker.
 
1957
Construction is completed on the George B. Connell Student Center.
 
1959
The Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta merges with Mercer University.
 
1963
Sam Jerry Oni of Ghana, Africa, becomes the first black student to enter Mercer. On April 18, Mercer Trustees vote to admit qualified students without regard to race, and Mercer becomes one of the few private colleges in the South to do this before being required by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
 
1965
Mercer dedicates the Eugene W. Stetson Memorial Library.
 
1967
Mercer dedicates Knight Hall of Humanities.
 
1968
The Hugh M. Willet Science Center is dedicated.
 
1972
Mercer dedicates the new School of Pharmacy building in Atlanta. Atlanta Baptist College merges with Mercer University and becomes known as Mercer University in Atlanta. Today, it is known as the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus.
 
1973
The Law School’s centennial is celebrated and Mercer graduate and U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday is observed.
 
1976
Mercer acquires the Insurance Company of North America Building on Coleman Hill in Macon as the home of the School of Law under a gift-purchase agreement for $1 million. The property is valued at more than $4 million.
 
1978
The former Tattnall Square Baptist Church on the Macon campus is rededicated as Newton Hall in honor of Dr. Louie D. Newton.
Mercer acquires the Overlook Mansion on Coleman Hill, now known as the Woodruff House.
 
1979
Mercer dedicates the Law School building with U.S. Attorney General and Mercer alumnus Griffin B. Bell on the program and Chief Justice Warren Burger as guest speaker.
 
1980
Mercer dedicates the restored Administration Building.
Inauguration ceremonies for Mercer’s 17th president, Raleigh Kirby Godsey, are held at the Macon City Auditorium.
Mercer dedicates the A.T. Davis Administration Building, College of Arts and Sciences, in Atlanta.
Mercer dedicates the Sheffield Building, College of Arts and Sciences, in Atlanta.
 
1981
Mercer dedicates the School of Medicine’s Education Building in Macon.
 
1982
Mercer University School of Medicine admits its charter class of students in the fall.
 
1983
Mercer establishes the School of Business in Atlanta.
Mercer dedicates the W.G. Lee Alumni House in Macon.
Mercer dedicates the Monroe F. Swilley Jr. Library in Atlanta.
The Plunkett-Sewell family commissions a Holtkamp pipe organ, specially designed for Newton Chapel. The 52-rank Tracker instrument is one of the largest organs of its kind on the eastern seaboard, establishing Mercer as a center for organ performance and teaching.
 
1984
The School of Business is established in Macon.
The School of Engineering is established in Macon.
 
1985
The charter class of the School of Engineering begins its studies and construction on a new building for engineering is begun.
 
1986
Tift College, a Georgia Baptist women’s institution in Forsyth, merges with Mercer University.
The new School of Engineering building opens for classes in the fall and is dedicated in October.
 
1987
University College, formerly the College of Continuing Education, is established, with educational centers located in Macon, Thomaston, Griffin, Eastman and Douglasville.
Groundbreaking is held for a new 93,750-square-foot library building located on the main campus in Macon.
The Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) is established as an extension of the School of Engineering. MERC provides a broad range of customer-oriented services to commercial and government clients.
 
1988
The School of Law receives the largest gift in the University’s history at that time — $14 million from George W. Woodruff.
 
1989
The University’s Board of Trustees votes to discontinue undergraduate liberal arts education on the Atlanta campus. The mission of the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta is changed to focus on graduate and professional education.
 
1991
In April, the University breaks ground on a new education and research center for the School of Pharmacy on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.
 
1992
In July, the School of Pharmacy moves from downtown Atlanta to the 300-acre Cecil B. Day Campus in northeast Atlanta.
 
1994
The Board of Trustees approves plans to establish a School of Education and a School of Theology.
 
1995
In April, the University’s Board of Trustees approves plans to locate the School of Theology on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.
On Oct. 1, Mercer enters into a long-term lease with Bibb County for the management and administration of The Grand Opera House in downtown Macon.
1996
Construction is completed on the new 32,000-square-foot School of Theology building on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta. The School’s charter class of students is admitted in the fall.
 
1997
The former Findlay House, located next to the W. G. Lee Alumni House on Coleman Avenue in Macon, is restored and dedicated in May as the Tift College Alumnae House.
Construction is completed on a 26,557-square-foot academic facility for the Douglas County Regional Academic Center.
Construction is completed on a new 52,155-square-foot facility for the Mercer Engineering Research Center in Warner Robins.
The School of Medicine completes construction on a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its research wing.
The former Stetson Library is rededicated in September as Stetson Hall and converted into office and classroom space for the School of Business and the School of Education.
 
1998
On Dec. 4, the University breaks ground on a 28,300-square-foot building for the Department of Music of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
 
1999
The McAfee School of Theology graduates its charter class in May.
Mercer breaks ground for a Greek Village in Macon and student apartment buildings in Macon and Atlanta.
 
Mercer in the 21st Century
 
2000
During a ceremony on April 20, Mercer dedicates the Jack Tarver Memorial Library.
In August, Mercer opens its new police station and seven new apartment buildings on the Macon campus and two new apartment buildings on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.
In September, Mercer dedicates the new 18-building Greek Village.
Mercer and the Georgia Baptist Convention announce that the 98-year-old Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, located in downtown Atlanta, will merge with Mercer on Jan. 1, 2001.
 
2001
The School of Education is renamed the Tift College of Education of Mercer University at the April Board of Trustees meeting.
 
2002
The new College of Nursing building on the Atlanta campus is dedicated during the College’s centennial celebration.
 
2003
Mercer opens the doors to its newest regional academic center in McDonough, providing opportunities for adult learners in Henry County and surrounding areas. The University’s programs in Griffin and Covington are merged into the Henry County location.
The University’s 10th academic unit, the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, is established from the former Division of Extended Education.
Mercer purchases the Georgia Baptist Center, which was previously owned by the Georgia Baptist Convention and is adjacent to the Atlanta campus. It becomes the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center.
 
2004
The University plays its first basketball games in the new University Center Arena during Homecoming week, Jan. 27-Feb. 1. The remainder of the signature facility on the Macon campus opens March 15. The official dedication of the University Center and the Griffin B. Bell Board Room is held in April, following the Board of Trustees meeting.
 
2005
The Townsend-McAfee Institute is established to offer graduate programs in church music that prepare musical artists for the ministry. The institute is a collaboration between the Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Macon and the School of Theology in Atlanta.
 
2006
After 27 years as president, R. Kirby Godsey steps down from his leadership role to become chancellor, leaving office as the longest-serving president in University history. William D. Underwood, former interim president of Baylor University and noted legal scholar and teacher, becomes the University’s 18th president on July 1.
The Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences becomes the Townsend School of Music on July 1. Trustee Carolyn McAfee, widow of James T. McAfee Jr., former chairman of Mercer's Board of Trustees, and her son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Julie McAfee, provided the founding endowment.
The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings is established on the Macon campus, offering conservatory-quality music training in a comprehensive university setting.
The 103-year-old School of Pharmacy changes its name to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on July 1. The name change reflects additional health science programs, including a new physician assistant program.
The American Baptist Historical Society, with the largest and most diverse collection of Baptist historical materials and archives in the world, announces it will relocate to Mercer’s Atlanta campus. The ABHS consolidated holdings from facilities in Valley Forge, Pa., and Rochester, N.Y.
 
2007
Three teams of students and faculty inaugurate the Mercer On Mission program over the summer in Kenya, Brazil and Guatemala. The program combines academic credit with service-learning opportunities.
The School of Medicine, as it celebrates its 25th year, announces it will open a second, four-year doctor of medicine program in Savannah in fall 2008. The program will be based at Memorial University Medical Center, where Mercer has had a clinical relationship since 1996 to provide instruction for part of the school’s third- and fourth-year medical students.
The Mercer Athletic Foundation is established to raise funds for intercollegiate athletics.
The University completes a new gateway entrance to the Macon campus on Mercer University Drive, near Interstate 75, and a new Hilton Garden Inn opens on that side of the campus.
The building housing the Douglas County Regional Academic Center is dedicated to longtime benefactors Fred and Aileen Borrish.
The new Science and Engineering Building is dedicated, and the University celebrates the School of Engineering’s 22-year partnership with Warner Robins Air Force Base Logistics Center.
 
2008
Thirty first-year medical students receive their white coats and begin their education as members of the inaugural class in Mercer’s new four-year medical program in Savannah.
 
2009
An announcement is made that a $10 million mixed-use development on the Macon campus will feature loft-style apartments and retail space for the Mercer bookstore and other businesses that cater to the Mercer community and residents in the College Hill Corridor. Called “The Lofts at Mercer Village,” the development is located on Montpelier Avenue and designed to create a vibrant streetscape, enhancing the recent retail development in Mercer Village.
 
2010
The University’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 19 unanimously approves a plan to resume competition in football in the fall of 2013, after a 72-year absence.
 
2011
Mercer’s first outdoor commencement on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta is held May 14. More than 6,000 guests witness the largest 2012 ceremony, held on the upper fields of the campus.
With $4.6 million in funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mercer announces establishment of the Center for Collaborative Journalism, a partnership between the University’s Journalism and Media Studies Department, The (Macon) Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting. A few months later the Peyton Anderson Foundation provides a $1 million grant to name the Center’s newsroom for the late Telegraph publisher and foundation founder Peyton Anderson.
 
2012
Mercer joins 24 institutions across the country as a participant in the prestigious Stamps Scholars Program, funded by the Stamps Charitable Foundation Inc. Initially, five entering freshmen will be designated as Stamps Scholars and receive the full cost of attendance, plus a $16,000 stipend over four years for enrichment activities, such as study abroad or undergraduate research. When the program is fully implemented, 10 members of each Mercer freshman class will be designated as Stamps Scholars.
The Eula Mae and John Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership is established and endowed with a $2.5 million grant from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.
The University announces in February plans to partner with The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital to establish a Columbus campus for third- and fourth-year students in the School of Medicine. Columbus joins Macon – where the School was established in 1982 to prepare physicians for rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia – and Savannah in hosting campuses for the medical school.
A $1 million gift from Macon cardiologist Dr. Chuck Hawkins and his wife, Kathy, to benefit the Mercer basketball program is recognized later that month as the arena housed within the University Center is renamed “Hawkins Arena.”
The Board of Trustees authorizes establishment of the Mercer Health Sciences Center, a multi-campus academic health center encompassing the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, as well as the creation in July 2013 of a new College of Health Professions.
Phase II of the Lofts at Mercer Village opens. The first floor houses the Center for Collaborative Journalism, and student apartments occupy the top three floors.
The University dedicates the Emily Parker Myers Admissions and Welcome Center at the corner of Winship Street and Montpelier Drive. The building is named in honor of Myers, who was one of the longest-serving administrators in University history, serving as senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs when she retired in 2008.
The Board of Trustees, at its November meeting, gives the green light for construction to begin on Cruz Plaza, to transform the appearance of the central part of the Macon campus from the University Center to the Historic Quad and from the Greek Village past Tarver Library. Milton L. Cruz, his wife Aileen, father Juan L. Cruz Rosario and sister Zoraida Cruz Torres provide the lead gift for the project. An official groundbreaking is held Dec. 11, 2012.
Former President Jimmy Carter joins the Mercer University Board of Trustees. Carter is believed to be the first former U.S. president in modern times to serve on a university governing board.
 
2013
A $425,000 grant from ArtPlace America was announced to support Mercer’s effort to revitalize the former Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church into the Tattnall Square Center for the Arts. The Center serves as a community theater and arts venue, as well as home to the University’s Theatre Department.
The University announces the acceptance of an invitation to join the Southern Conference, affiliating Mercer Athletics with the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I athletic association.
More than 12,000 fans overflow the Mercer Football Stadium on Aug. 31 to watch the Bears field their first football team in more than 70 years. Mercer proceeds to break the NCAA record for most wins ever by a start-up program, sporting a 10-2 record and finishing unbeaten at home with an unblemished 8-0 campaign.
The Lofts at Tattnall Square, the third new loft-style student apartment building to be constructed under the College Hill Corridor master plan, opens to accommodate the University’s growing undergraduate enrollment.
Former U.S. Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young kicks off Mercer’s yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution’s integration during a convocation in Willingham Auditorium.
 
2014
The men's basketball team turns the attention of the entire country – and beyond – to the University when the 14th-seeded Bears beat the third-seeded Duke Blue Devils 78-71 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The College of Continuing and Professional Studies, established in 2003 and whose roots date back to Tift College’s merger with Mercer in the late 1980s, is renamed Penfield College of Mercer University.
On the strength of its growing research profile, Mercer is admitted as a member of the Georgia Research Alliance, whose mission is to expand research and commercialization capacity in Georgia's universities to launch new companies, create high-value jobs and transform lives.
Mercer breaks ground on an $18 million expansion of School of Medicine (MUSM) facilities on its Savannah campus at Memorial University Medical Center. This endeavor includes renovation of the William and Iffath Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research as well as construction of an addition to the Hoskins Center to serve as a medical education and research facility for the University.
President William D. Underwood uses the opening night of Homecoming weekend to announce a $400 million capital campaign for the University. "Aspire, The Campaign for Mercer University, seeks to provide financial resources that will empower Mercer, already emerging among the Southeast's elite private research universities, to become an international leader in applying its intellectual capital to better serve the needs of humankind."
 
2015
Mercer's two-year-old, 10,000-seat stadium, home of Mercer Bears football and lacrosse, is renamed Five Star Stadium in recognition of a multi-million-dollar commitment, the largest-ever for Mercer athletics and one of the largest in the University's history. The financial commitment came from Five Star Automotive Group, owned by Charlie Cantrell and Dick Pope.
A large multi-million-dollar commitment from a Macon resident and devoted friend of the University establishes the Jo Phelps Fabian Center for Musical Excellence in School of Music. The commitment by Fabian is the largest ever, along with the gift that founded the School of Music, to support the arts at Mercer.
Mercer Theatre's first performance in the newly completed Tattnall Square Center for the Arts features William Shakespeare's “The Tempest.”
Mercer student and reigning Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell is crowned Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J.
The nation’s most prestigious academic honor society – Phi Beta Kappa – approves the granting of a chapter to Mercer during the organization’s 44th Triennial Council in Denver. Mercer becomes just the third Georgia research university – joining Emory and the University of Georgia – to shelter a chapter.
 
2016
The Lofts at Mercer Landing student housing opens on Mercer University Drive in Macon, across from the main entrance to Mercer and linked to campus by a new pedestrian bridge. The building features one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom, fully furnished apartments, as well as offices for Mercer’s alumni, advancement, marketing communications and human resources departments.
 
2017
The School of Medicine recognizes the first 25 students to receive inaugural Physicians for Rural Georgia Scholarships, which cover 85 to 100 percent of tuition for up to four years in the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program. The University funded the scholarship program with the entirety of a one-time infusion of $35 million from the state of Georgia as a result of a settlement agreement offer from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in February 2016. President William D. Underwood announced that current and future recipients of the scholarship will be called Nathan Deal Scholars in recognition of Georgia's 82nd governor, who is a graduate of both the University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Law.
Mercer is named a participating institution for the Churchill Scholarship, a prestigious and highly selective award for American students to engage in a year of master's-level study in science, mathematics and engineering at the University of Cambridge. Mercer joins Emory, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia as the only institutions in the state to participate in the scholarship program, and is the only participating institution in the Southern Conference.
 
2018
Classes begin Jan. 8 in the newly completed Spearman C. Godsey Science Center. The largest academic facility project in the University’s history in terms of cost at $44 million and size at 143,410 square feet is named in honor of Mercer Chancellor Dr. R. Kirby Godsey’s father and in recognition of Dr. Godsey’s multi-million-dollar naming gift. The Godsey Science Center includes 60 teaching and research labs, three medium classrooms, four small classrooms and 46 offices.
Mercer Medicine Plains, a primary care practice and division of the faculty practice of Mercer University School of Medicine, opens on Main Street in Plains, Georgia. Former President Jimmy Carter, a Life Trustee at Mercer, and First Lady Rosalynn Carter were instrumental in the project and attended the grand opening ceremony for the practice in August.
Mercer is classified as a Doctoral University with High Research Activity (R2) following an adjustment to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. R2 is the second-highest level of doctoral research universities in the country.
 
2019
The McEachern Art Center opens in downtown Macon as the new home of the University’s art gallery and student studios.
Mercer Law School’s first-floor courtroom is named the Griffin B. Bell and Frank C. Jones Courtroom in honor of these Mercer alumni. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Clarence Thomas delivers the keynote address for the dedication ceremony.
The Board of Trustees renames Penfield College as the College of Professional Advancement.
The School of Medicine announces it is expanding the School’s two-year Columbus campus to a full four-year campus, and the Board of Trustees approves construction of a new $32.4 million, 76,000-square-foot facility.
The School of Medicine announces two additional rural health clinics. Mercer Medicine Peach County opens in Fort Valley and Mercer Medicine Clay County is expected to open in Fort Gaines in 2020.
Mercer University and Robins Air Force Base announce a partnership that will bring an innovative software development center to downtown Macon. The center will be housed in the ground floor of The Lofts at Capricorn.
The Board of Trustees approves name changes for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Stetson School of Business. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is renamed the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to reflect the growing significance of the sciences within the University. The Eugene. W. Stetson-Hatcher School of Business is renamed the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business to recognize longtime supporter and trustee Robert F. Hatcher.
The Board of Trustees approves construction of a new 57,000-square-foot Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.
Mercer Music at Capricorn celebrates the grand re-opening of the historic Capricorn complex in downtown Macon, which now includes recording studios, a music incubator, a museum, and offices and co-working space.
 
Mercer University Presidents
In the course of its history, Mercer University has had 24 persons serving in the President’s Office. Their names and the dates of their administrations are as follows:
Billington McCarty Sanders
1833-1840
Otis Smith
1840-1844
John Leadly Dagg
1844-1854
Nathaniel Macon Crawford
1854-1856
Shelton Palmer Sanford, Acting President
1856-1858
Nathaniel Macon Crawford
1858-1866
Henry Holcomb Tucker
1866-1871
Archibald John Battle
1872-1889
Gustavus Alonzo Nunnally
1889-1893
John Edgerton Willet, Acting President
1893-1893
James Burton Gambrell
1893-1896
Pinckney Daniel Pollock
1896-1903
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