Mercer University honorary alumna and longtime Macon arts and community leader Neva Langley Fickling died early today at the age of 79.
An accomplished pianist and friend of the performing arts in Georgia, she was the wife of Mercer trustee William A. Fickling Jr. The concert hall in Mercer’s McCorkle Music Building was dedicated in her honor in 2003.
“Neva Fickling was the embodiment of grace, talent and leadership,” Mercer President William D. Underwood said. “She was loved by her family, her community and all who supported the arts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fickling family during this time of loss.”
The only Miss Georgia to be crowned Miss America, Fickling gave graciously of her time to a number of enterprises. She served on numerous boards, including Wesleyan College, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Keep America Beautiful Commission, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Macon Heritage Foundation, the Georgia Council of the Arts, the Park City Chamber Music Society, the Junior League of Macon and the advisory board of Hay House, among others.
She was the founder of Georgia Women of Achievement, which recognizes women of outstanding achievement in Georgia with an annual award. Fickling also initiated the formation of the Macon Arts Council, now called the Macon Arts Alliance. In addition, she helped establish Georgia Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization.
Mercer in 2011 awarded her the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at its May commencement.