The University dedicated the Emily Parker Myers Admissions and Welcome Center on Nov. 2, as it lauded its namesake and her distinguished career at Mercer. Myers retired from Mercer in 2008 as senior vice president of advancement and external affairs after more than 36 years with the University. She worked in the University’s admissions office before President R. Kirby Godsey appointed her to head university advancement in 1979, when she became Mercer’s first female senior vice president.
At the dedication, Dr. Godsey recounted Myers’ accomplishments.
“I could never have known all of the conversations she was having with trustees, with donors, and even with our critics,” Dr. Godsey said. “But I always knew that Emily represented the University with intelligence, with dignity and with integrity. She combines an extraordinary mind and a strategic good sense with poise and deep respect for her work and the people with whom she worked. She first brought that intelligence and poise to admissions and then she turned to advancement. Today I want to say to you that Emily was an outstanding citizen of this Mercer community. She was a resilient and effective senior administrator, a woman of extraordinary competence, a person driven by high expectations, all of which were cushioned by a wonderful and disarming sense of humor.”
President William D. Underwood echoed Dr. Godsey’s praises. “I think naming this Admissions and Welcome Center in honor of Emily’s contributions is especially appropriate, because Emily began her career at Mercer in admissions, and one of her dreams was to see this kind of a facility constructed to provide a beautiful welcome and introduction to our campus for prospective students and their families,” he said. “Emily understood the importance of having a facility like this and that makes it especially appropriate that we dedicate this facility in honor of Emily’s contributions at Mercer.”
The Welcome Center is located at the corner of Winship Street and Montpelier Drive and serves as the welcome center for campus visitors, including prospective students. It is also the University’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building. The new building houses the Office of University Admissions, which relocated from the Connell Student Center and the former Admissions House on Elm Street. It also incorporates one of Macon’s oldest homes – the R.J. Anderson House, which was constructed in the mid-1800s. The project involved remodeling the 2,700-square-foot home and adding 3,000 square feet of new, sustainable construction. The reuse of the historic home, combined with environmentally friendly additions and high-energy efficiency, helped the project qualify for LEED Gold Certification.
Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management, praised the building and Myers for her path breaking work at the University.
“We just want to thank you. Your service to the University has been absolutely extraordinary,” Dr. Elkins said. “We, the enrollment management team, commit to carrying on that strong legacy of excellence in the admissions process. We’re building on the foundation that you set for us by continuing to enroll high-quality students for this institution.”
Underwood also read remarks from longtime Mercer trustee and Myers’ friend, Bob Steed, who could not attend because of a long-planned trip. “I am overpowered by trying to overcome your extraordinary accomplishments here at Mercer,” Steed wrote. “Your secret, I know, is unbridled energy. Judge Griffin Bell and I once agreed that you could make coffee nervous.”
Steed singled out three important accomplishments in her work in university advancement as watershed marks in her career and in the history of the University. The success in planning and implementing the $350 million Advancing the Vision Campaign, her work on establishment of the Mercer University School of Medicine and the construction of the University Center – a $40 million project.
“In the more than 30 years you labored in our vineyard, you achieved success in every enterprise you engaged in for Mercer,” Steed wrote. “Through your skills as an organizer, executor and visionary, you were exemplary. But I think fundraising was your forte. Your success in fundraising and project advancement was unparalleled. The P in your name, I know, stands for persistence, planning, patience, persuasion, prosperity and powerful.”
While she was responsible for university advancement, Mercer received private gifts and grants of more than $500 million. Today, Myers is in her “encore career” as president and CEO of Macon-based Myers McRae, an executive search firm. She thanked the audience of than 150 attendees for coming to the event.
“What a blessing, what an honor to have been a part of Mercer University,” she said. “I hope I made a difference because I know this: if you come to Mercer University it’s going to change your life for the better. This is a wonderful, beautiful, fabulous institution with great trustees. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it. I’m so grateful for your friendship today. God bless Mercer University and all of you who toil here.”