Mercer University Board Elects New Trustees, Approves New Academic Programs


MACON – Mercer University's Board of Trustees installed nine new members, re-elected Atlanta attorney and Mercer Law School graduate Richard A. (Doc) Schneider as chair of the board, and approved two new degree programs during its annual Homecoming meeting today.

The board also was briefed by President William D. Underwood on planning for several facilities projects, including the new undergraduate sciences building on the Macon campus, new student housing in Macon, renovation of Newton Hall on the Macon campus for offices and meeting space, and improvements to the baseball stadium. Trustees also were informed that construction is underway on the School of Medicine's new medical education and research facility on the Savannah campus.

New trustees who began their five-year terms at the conclusion of today's meeting include G. Marshall Butler Sr., president and general manager of Butler Automotive Group in Macon; Ashley Amos Copelan, double graduate of Mercer's Tift College of Education from Macon; Patricia “Patty” Ann Bridges Dash, a graduate of Mercer's Georgia Baptist College of Nursing from Big Sky, Montana; William Andrew Haggard, Mercer Law School graduate and attorney from Coral Gables, Florida; Augusta attorney David E. Hudson, a graduate of Mercer's College of Liberal Arts and former chair of the Board of Trustees; Julie Whidden Long, a graduate of Mercer's College of Liberal Arts and McAfee School of Theology and minister of children and families at First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon; W. Louis Sands, a graduate of Mercer's College of Liberal Arts and law school and senior U.S. District Court judge from Albany; Edward (Ed) Schutter Jr., a graduate of Mercer's College of Pharmacy and president and CEO of Arbor Pharmaceuticals in Marietta; and J. Daniel Speight Jr., a graduate of Mercer Law School and vice chairman and chief operating officer of State Bank Financial Corp., Macon.

Trustees who rotated off the board and were recognized for their service include William H. (Billy) Anderson II of Macon; Kellie Raiford Appel of Atlanta; Thomas P. (Tom) Bishop of Acworth; James C. (Jimmy) Elder Jr. of Columbus; Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher of Macon; W. Mansfield Jennings Jr. of Hawkinsville; David E. Linch of Atlanta; J. Thomas (Tom) McAfee III of Juliette; and Howell L. Watkins II of Vero Beach, Florida.

In other action, the board approved a new Master of Science degree in Clinical Health Psychology in the School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in Business Analytics in the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics.

The M.S. in Clinical Health Psychology will be awarded after two to three years of coursework to students enrolled in the five-year Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs in Clinical Medical Psychology. It is not designed to be a terminal degree. Admission to the program will be limited to students pursuing the Psy.D. or Ph.D.

The Master of Science in Business Analytics combines business education with data retrieval, analysis, and presentation skills that go beyond the traditional MBA curriculum. It includes a fieldwork project that utilizes these skills across a variety of functional disciplines, such as marketing, finance, or logistics/supply chain management. It is designed to meet the growing need for data and technology-savvy analysts with knowledge of business concepts and decision-making models.