MACON – Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement recently recognized six students as recipients of the Charles Roberts Scholarship, named in honor of the Mercer alumnus and faculty member who passed away last October at the age of 73.
The scholarship was established by the family of Dr. Roberts to be presented to juniors and seniors at Mercer and also at Michigan State University, where he earned two graduate degrees and served on the faculty for 25 years.
This year’s recipients in Mercer’s College of Professional Advancement include human resources administration and development majors Keymara Cooley and Mahaley Gorman, liberal studies major Gregory Crews, health informatics major Marie Mathieu, information technology and informatics major Dominique Michie and software application development and human computer interaction major Marian Steen-Gonzalez.
“Knowing how much Charles had dedicated his entire life to educating others, we knew it would be a perfect tribute to him to create a scholarship fund,” said his wife, Adah Roberts. “Congratulations to all of the students. Dr. Roberts would be so proud. We wish them well!”
Dr. Roberts was a native of Macon and valedictorian of his class at Peter G. Appling High School. Among the first Black students enrolled at Mercer, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1969. He also served as a mentor to the University’s first class of Upward Bound students, many of whom went on to become successful first-generation college students.
Later in his career, Dr. Roberts returned to Mercer as a mathematics professor in the College of Professional Advancement, which provides educational opportunities to post-traditional learners. During his 19 years on the faculty, his roles included student development coordinator and director of a peer tutoring program in the University’s Regional Academic Centers. He was awarded the Joe and Jean Hendricks Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty, in 2015.
Dr. Roberts earned both his Master of Science in mathematics and Ph.D. in higher education/mathematics education from Michigan State University, where he helped to establish what is now known as the Charles Drew Science Scholars Program. The program offers academic and social support for high achieving students pursuing science and math degrees. He served as mathematics program director for a quarter-century, and was recognized for his efforts with the program’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Over more than 50 years as an educator, Dr. Roberts also taught at the University of Georgia, as well as several high schools, including Central, Northeast and Peach County in Middle Georgia. He spent three years from 1998-2000 as an elected member of the Lansing (Michigan) Board of Education. Prior to that, he established mathematics after-school programs at a high school and middle school in Lansing, which involved college students from Michigan State engaged in a form of service-learning.
Dr. Roberts’ professional and research interests included mathematics education, K-12 educational reform, college-level educational enhancement projects and research, professional teacher development, pre-service teacher education, and curriculum/instructional development and enrichment.
“We invited our Roberts Scholars to participate in our January faculty meeting and learned of their impressive achievements and aspirations,” said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of the College of Professional Advancement. “Dr. Roberts heard so many similar narratives through the years from students at Mercer. He was such a source of encouragement to so many, always committed to our students’ success and to their confidence.”
About the College of Professional Advancement
Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement is committed to serving post-traditional learners. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary experiences that integrate theory and practice. In addition to providing general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer, the College of Professional Advancement offers degree programs in areas including technology, public safety, public and human services, leadership and administration, health care and liberal arts. Programs are offered on Mercer’s campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County and Henry County, and online. To learn more, visit professionaladvancement.mercer.edu.