Baca to Retire After 34 Years at Mercer; Lidstone and Whaley Assume New Positions

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON — Diane H. Baca, associate vice president for human resources, will retire June 30 after 34 years at Mercer. She will be succeeded by Rhonda W. Lidstone, director of human resource services and affirmative action, who in turn will be succeeded by Candace E. Whaley assuming the new role of director of human resource services.

Baca has dedicated over 34 years of service to the University, where she helped to lead a unit that provides human resource services to all of Mercer’s campuses and locations. In addition to her work with human resources, six years ago she also assumed leadership of Mercer’s annual United Way campaign. Under her direction, annual commitments rose from $7,000 to $102,000. 

Lidstone has provided leadership in the areas of employment, affirmative action, and compensation. She has dedicated more than 16 years at Mercer, where she contributed to the implementation of the current online application tracking system and market-based compensation framework. 

“Mercer is extremely fortunate to have someone with Rhonda’s experience, qualifications and dedication to Mercer ready to assume this important leadership role,” said Dr. James S. Netherton, executive vice president for administration and finance.
Prior to joining Mercer in 1996, Lidstone served as director of human resources for South Dakota State University for 10 years. During her tenure there, she earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification and provided leadership in the development, delivery and continuous improvement of programs and services, including employment, classification and compensation, benefits, training and development and employee relations. Prior to her work at South Dakota State University, she worked in the corporate sector as an HR director for J.B. Ivey and Company, a division of Marshall Fields. 

Lidstone has her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Wake Forest University, and a Master of Science in industrial management from South Dakota State University.  She currently holds Certified Compensation Professional certification.

Also on July 1, Whaley will become director of human resource services with primary responsibility for affirmative action, family medical leave administration and employee immigration.

Whaley is a double Mercer graduate, having earned both her Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration at from the University. She has been employed at Mercer for more than 13 years, the last 10 of which have been in the Human Resources office where she has been responsible for faculty and staff recruitment. She currently holds Professional in Human Resources certification.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus — and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program.

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