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|President||William D. Underwood|
|Location||Macon, Georgia, USA|
|Colors||Orange and Black|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I|
|Affiliations||Southern Conference (2014)|
|President||William D. Underwood|
|Location||Macon, Georgia, USA|
|Colors||Orange and Black|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I|
|Affiliations||Southern Conference (2014)|
Mercer enrolls approximately 8,300 students in its twelve colleges and schools: liberal arts, business, engineering, education, music, continuing and professional studies, law, theology, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions.
Mercer has three campuses: the main campus in Macon, which has been recognized as one of the five most beautiful college or university campuses in the United States; a graduate and professional education campus in Atlanta; and a four-year campus of the School of Medicine in Savannah. Mercer also has regional academic centers in Henry County, Douglas County, Eastman, and Newnan; teaching hospitals in Macon, Savannah, and Columbus; a university press and a performing arts center, the Grand Opera House, in Macon; and the Mercer Engineering Research Center in Warner Robins. The Mercer University Health Sciences Center encompasses Mercer's medical, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions programs in Macon, Atlanta, Savannah, and Columbus.
Mercer is the only private university in Georgia with an NCAA Division I athletic program and fields teams in eight men's and nine women's sports. The university competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference for all sports except football, which competes in the Pioneer Football League. Mercer will join the Southern Conference as a full member on July 1, 2014; all university-sponsored sports will compete in the Southern Conference except men's and women's lacrosse and women's sand volleyball, which are not sponsored by the conference.
Mercer is ranked first by US News and World Report as the best value among comprehensive universities in the southern United States; overall Mercer is ranked seventh in the "Best Universities-Master's-South" category (2013 edition). The Princeton Review, in its 2014 "Best 378 Colleges" guide, ranks Mercer in the top fifteen percent of all colleges and universities nationwide.
Mercer University was founded in Penfield, Georgia 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 Macon, 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.
During World War II, Mercer was one of 131 colleges and universities that participated in the V-12 Navy College Training Program. The program offered military training that prepared students for a commission in the United States Navy.
Mercer expanded to Atlanta 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 Savannah campus in 2008. The campus is the location of Mercer's second four-year medical school, which opened at the same time.
Mercer was founded by early 19th century Baptists, but is no longer formally affiliated with the Baptist denomination; Mercer ended its affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2006 after 173 years. Before the affiliation ended, Mercer had an independent board of trustees; the convention provided financial support, but did not control the university. The lack of control caused friction with Mercer resisting restraints on intellectual freedom while the convention saw Mercer as becoming secularized and not conforming to its values. Without formal affiliation, Mercer's James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology continues to partner with the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; the organization provides financial support, but does not control policy or initiatives.
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 Center, 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.
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 University, Duke University, Emory University, Wake Forest University, and Tulane University. 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.
Mercer set an enrollment record in the fall of 2012 with a university-wide population of 8,341 students. The larger student body reflects expanded academic programs including five new doctoral degrees: Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Medical Psychology. Mercer opened its second four-year medical school, in Savannah, in 2008 and its fourth regional academic center, in Newnan, in 2010.
Mercer's board of trustees approved the largest operating budget in university history in 2012. At the same time, the board authorized establishment of the multi-campus Mercer University Health Sciences Center, which incorporates programs offered by the School of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy, and the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. The board also approved a new College of Health Professions; the college opened in 2013 and is the university's twelfth academic unit.
Mercer opened a large retail-residential center on the Macon campus in 2011. The center, called Mercer Lofts, houses the Barnes & Noble operated university bookstore, other shops, and student apartments. Mercer Lofts II, a mixed-use development adjacent to Phase I, opened in 2012; the facility houses Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, which consists of the university's journalism department and the editorial-professional staffs of the Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting (on the first floor) along with student apartments (on upper floors). In addition to the Mercer Lofts project, in 2012 the university opened a new admissions and welcome center on the Macon campus; the center is named for Emily Parker Myers, a long-time university administrator, and is the university's first LEED certified building. Also in 2012, Mercer purchased the former Georgia Music Hall of Fame building in downtown Macon; the university is renovating the building for expanded programs within the School of Medicine. In 2013, Mercer completed Cruz Plaza, a major landscaping project for the Macon campus central quadrangle linking the University Center (Hawkins Arena), Tarver Library, and Connell Student Center. In addition, in 2013 the university began construction on Mercer Lofts III, a large student housing complex on College Street adjacent to Tattnall Square Park and the university's historic north quadrangle, and announced a new College of Pharmacy building on the Atlanta campus with construction set to begin in the spring of 2014.
Improvements to the Mercer athletics department are planned to increase the university's visibility. Mercer won the Atlantic Sun Conference championship in baseball and in women's soccer in 2010 and the men's basketball team won the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2012. The men's lacrosse team began play in 2011; Mercer has the first NCAA Division I lacrosse program in Georgia. In addition, sand volleyball was added in 2012 and football in 2013. In 2011, the university began construction of the Tony and Nancy Moye Football and Lacrosse Complex (10,200 seats) on the Macon campus; the Field Turf playing surface and the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House were completed in 2012, the entire complex was completed in 2013. The first football game was played on August 31, 2013; Mercer defeated Reinhardt University. Earlier in 2013, the men's basketball team won the conference regular season championship and advanced to the National Invitational Tournament defeating the University of Tennessee before losing to Brigham Young University; the 2012-13 women's basketball team won 20 games and advanced to the Women's Basketball Invitational.
US News and World Report continues to rank Mercer among the top universities in the South; in the 2013 edition, Mercer is ranked seventh in the Southern "Best Universities-Master's" category marking the university's twenty-third consecutive year among the top 15 and fourteenth consecutive year in the top 10. The 2013 edition also ranks Mercer first among the "Great Schools at Great Prices" as the number one value in the South. In addition, the Princeton Review, in its 2014 "Best 378 Colleges" guide, ranks Mercer in the top fifteen percent of all colleges and universities nationwide.
William D. Underwood became Mercer's eighteenth president on July 1, 2006, succeeding Dr. Raleigh Kirby Godsey, who served as president for 27 years. Dr. Godsey is now the university's chancellor. Underwood previously served at Baylor University as interim president and held the prestigious Leon Jaworski Chair at Baylor Law School.
During Underwood's presidency, enrollment has increased by approximately twenty percent to more than 8,400 students. In addition, Mercer has launched second and third medical school campuses (in Savannah and Columbus), initiated a master’s-level physician assistant program and a doctoral-level program in physical therapy, and added doctoral programs in clinical psychology, nursing, counseling, educational leadership, and curriculum and instruction. Reflecting an increased emphasis on research, Mercer meets criteria established by the Carnegie Foundation for classification as a research-doctoral university; the number of doctoral students has increased from fewer than 25 to more than 300, while the amount of annual externally funded research expenditures has grown to approximately than $30 million. In addition to increased levels of funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Mercer scientists have for the first time been funded as eminent cancer scientists by the Georgia Cancer Coalition while other Mercer scientists are funded by the Georgia Research Alliance.
In community relations, Mercer announced a $5 million grant in 2009 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support continued revitalization of the College Hill Corridor between campus and downtown Macon. In addition, the Mercer On Mission medical outreach program, launched in 2007, has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative as "an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge." It provides students life transforming opportunities to combine research, study abroad and service-learning under faculty direction.
Initiatives such as Mercer On Mission have empowered Mercer students to earn national recognition and prestigious Fulbright, Teach For America and Peace Corps appointments; as of 2012, two of the last three recipients of the Gulf South Summit Award for Outstanding Student Contributions to Service-Learning have been Mercer students and Mercer ranks among the top three institutions in the Southeast for placement of Peace Corps volunteers among colleges and universities with fewer than 5,000 undergraduate students.
In athletics, Mercer has added programs in men's lacrosse, sand volleyball, and football; the university has constructed a new football and lacrosse complex (10,200 seats) and will compete in the Pioneer Football League in 2013 before moving to the Southern Conference in 2014.
The main campus of Mercer University is in Macon, approximately 75 miles (121 km) south of Atlanta. 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, the W. G. Lee Alumni House, and the Emily Parker Myers Admissions and Welcome Center (listed as R. J. Anderson House) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also listed are the Amanda Bell house (listed as Lassiter House), which houses the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings of the Townsend School of Music, located on College Street one mile (1.6 km) from the main campus, and the Grand Opera House, Mercer's performing arts center, located in downtown Macon.
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 Hall in Philadelphia and is located on Coleman Hill overlooking downtown Macon. Adjacent to the Law School is the university-owned Cowles-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.
The Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus of Mercer University is in Atlanta, approximately two miles (3.2 km) south of the interchange of Interstate 85 and Interstate 285 in the Northlake area of DeKalb County. The College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, the College of Pharmacy, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, and programs of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics (BBA, MBA and Executive MBA programs), the Tift College of Education (Master's and PhD programs), and the School of Medicine (Master's program) are located here. 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, which constructed a new headquarters in Gwinnett County. The former 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.
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.
In February 2012, Mercer announced the establishment of a new campus in Columbus. The new campus is the third for the School of Medicine, which has existing campuses in Macon and Savannah. The new campus will partner with two regional hospitals, The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital, and beginning in the summer of 2012, will offer clinical rotations for third and fourth year students.
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 Covington and Griffin. The Henry County center is located in McDonough.
The Newnan Regional Academic Center opened in 2010. The center offers undergraduate degrees through Mercer's College of Continuing and Professional Studies.
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 110 full-time faculty members, offers dozens of majors, minors, and interdisciplinary programs, and the Great Books program allows students to study the classic writers and thinkers of the Western world. In 2011, the college’s largest majors were biology and biochemistry, psychology, chemistry, English, and political science. The curricular program of the college is recognized for its focus on critical thinking, effective communication, problem-solving, and development of the whole person.
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.
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 Technology and Southern Polytechnic State University. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is the primary provider of engineers for Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia. The school is located on the Macon campus in a modern 62,000-square-foot (5,800 m2) 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 Base 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 Healthcare 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.
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 Forsyth. 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 and at the university's regional academic centers. The college offers three Doctor of Philosophy degrees: P-12 School Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, and Curriculum and Instruction.
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.
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, Eastman, and Newnan.
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.
The college's graduate-level programs include master's degrees in public safety, organizational leadership, school counseling, and clinical mental health counseling as well as an Educational Specialist degree in school counseling and a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. In the fall of 2013, the college will begin offering graduate programs in human services and rehabilitation counseling.
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 Walter F. George, Mercer Law Class of 1901, who was a long-time United States Senator and was President pro tempore of the Senate.
The School of Law offers the following degrees: Juris Doctor (JD), a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA), and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure, which is the nation's only LLM program with this subject matter focus.
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.
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 University, the Divinity School at Campbell University, 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, Pennsylvania and Rochester, New York. The organization is housed in the Mercer University Administration and Conference 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, Tennessee 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.
The Mercer University 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 family therapy and nurse anesthetist. The School of Medicine's teaching hospitals are the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus.
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 and Graduated ist first M.D.'s in 2012. 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 Healthcare 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.
In April 2011, Mercer announced a new Doctor of Clinical Medical Psychology program with the first students to enroll in the fall of 2012.
In February 2012, Mercer announced the establishment of a third School of Medicine campus. The new campus, in Columbus, joins existing locations in Macon and Savannah. The new campus is partnered with two regional hospitals, The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital, and beginning in the summer of 2012, will offer clinical rotations for up to 80 third and fourth year students.
The College of Pharmacy, founded in 1903, was an independent school in Atlanta until it merged with Mercer in 1959. The college, ranked by US News and World Report among the top five private pharmacy schools in the country, 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 was named the Southern School of Pharmacy until 2006 when it was renamed the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; the name change reflected new physician assistant and physical therapy programs. The college received its current name in 2013 when the physician assistant and physical therapy programs were shifted to the new College of Health Professions.
Mercer's football stadium (10,200 seats, completion 2013) - the Tony and Nancy Moye Football and Lacrosse Complex - is named for William Anthony (Tony) Moye, Pharmacy Class of 1973. Moye is a member of the university's board of trustees and is a major donor towards the stadium.
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 Healthcare 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, as well as other medical facilities across the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing began offering the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree in August 2009 and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in August 2010. Both programs are a part of Mercer's strategic plan to expand the university's doctoral programs.
The College of Health Professions opened on July 1, 2013. Mercer's twelfth academic unit offers the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree along with master's-level physician assistant and public health programs previously offered by the College of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine. The new college allows for the addition of future health sciences programs, such as occupational therapy, as well as expansion of existing programs on multiple Mercer campuses.
Mercer University has four libraries, which are organized as a separate division alongside the twelve 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.
The Grand Opera House 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 States. The Grand has hosted vaudeville performances, Broadway touring companies, community theatre, concerts, movies, and numerous other events. Mercer has operated the Grand since 1995 through a lease agreement with Bibb County. The Grand has undergone extensive renovation and regularly hosts special events that are open to the community.
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.
The Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) is located in a state-of-the-art research facility in Warner Robins, Georgia. This new facility is located a short drive from Robins Air Force Base and provides upgraded physical security, staff offices, laboratories, classrooms, and a large conference facility.. Established in 1987 as an extension of the School of Engineering, MERC has extensive research agreements with Robins Air Force Base and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as with private concerns. Providing a broad range of customer oriented services to commercial and government clients, MERC's offerings include: management consulting, logistics consulting and analysis, systems engineering, structural and mechanical engineering, information technology consulting, software engineering, and various areas of industrial process and equipment design.
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 Macon 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-TV Channel 13.
Mercer and Georgia Public Broadcasting partnered in 2006 to create WMUM-FM, 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.
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 eight men's and nine women's sports. Men's teams include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and tennis. Women's teams include basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse (beginning 2014-15), sand volleyball, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Mercer teams have won 17 Atlantic Sun Conference championships: five baseball, four men's basketball, two women's basketball, five men's soccer, and one women's soccer. The men's basketball team won the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Mercer will join the Southern Conference on July 1, 2014.
Mercer opened the University Center on the Macon campus in 2004. The $40 million 230,000-square-foot (21,000 m2) 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 and football-lacrosse complex (construction began in September 2011). In 2007, a 101-room Hilton Garden Inn opened on university-owned land adjacent to the University Center.
Bobby Pope retired on June 30, 2010 after 21 years as athletics director. Pope was affiliated with Mercer for 40 years starting in 1970 as a radio announcer, and in 1980 became sports information director. He became athletics director in 1989 and oversaw construction of the University Center and renovation of the baseball, softball, and tennis facilities. Jim Cole, a Mercer graduate and a former professional baseball player in the Milwaukee Brewers system, is the new athletics director. Cole, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, served as Governor Sonny Perdue's floor leader in the House and was selected to become Georgia Secretary of State in December 2009. He declined the appointment to become Mercer athletics director.
On November 19, 2010, Mercer announced the reinstatement of intercollegiate football beginning in the fall of 2013. The university will compete as a NCAA Division I, non-scholarship program in the Pioneer Football League. Reinstatement comes after a 70-year hiatus; Mercer suspended football during World War II and did not revive it. The final game was in 1941.
On January 20, 2011, Mercer announced the hiring of Bobby Lamb as its new head football coach. Lamb compiled a record of 67-40 in nine seasons as the head coach at Furman University from 2002-2010. He played quarterback at Furman from 1982-1985 and was the Southern Conference player of the year in 1985. Lamb was an assistant coach at Furman from 1986 until he became head coach in 2002. He resigned from Furman after compiling a record of 5-6 for the 2010 season, his only losing season in nine years. Lamb is a Georgia native; he was born in Augusta and graduated from high school in Commerce.
In November 2011, the university began construction of a new football and lacrosse complex (10,200 seats) on the Macon campus. The new stadium is adjacent to the University Center and Mercer's other athletic facilities.
Toby Bear is Mercer University's official mascot. Toby gained public notoriety among universities throughout the country when he was selected as the number one video qualifier for the NCA National Collegiate Mascot competition in the Spring of 2012. He went on to place fourth in the competition his very first year.
Tot Bear, Toby's lady friend, is also seen frequently at Mercer games and promotional events.
US News and World Report, in the 2013 edition of its college and university rankings, ranks Mercer seventh in the Southern "Best Universities-Master's" category marking the university's twenty-third consecutive year among the top 15 and fourteenth consecutive year in the top 10. The 2013 edition also ranks Mercer first among the "Great Schools at Great Prices" as the number one value in the South.
The Princeton Review, in its 2014 "Best 378 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 most recent "America's Best Value Colleges" guide (2008), 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; 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. In the 2013 edition of its law school rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercer 105th among the nation's top 145 law schools. The same edition ranks Mercer's legal writing program third in the nation. The legal writing program has been ranked in the top three since US News & World Report began the speciality ranking in 2006.
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 Development 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 University and Spelman College, the only other Georgia institutions to achieve the classification to date.