College of Professional Advancement Presents Inaugural Harris Davis Transformational Power of Education Award to Senior Informatics Major Ricks Anderson II

Ricks Anderson II

ATLANTA – Mercer University College of Professional Advancement senior Ricks Anderson II recently received the inaugural Harris Davis Transformational Power of Education Award.

The award, presented annually to an undergraduate student who has experienced the transformational power of education, is named for emeriti faculty members Dr. Colin Harris and Dr. Duane Davis.

An anonymous College of Professional Advancement faculty member provided the initial gift of approximately $25,000 to endow the award.

“Our faculty donor wished to honor Dr. Harris and Dr. Davis, exemplary and beloved faculty members who taught, encouraged and cared for students at Mercer for 80 combined years,” said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of the College of Professional Advancement. “Dr. Harris was the first recipient of the University’s most prestigious award for excellence in teaching, the Joe and Jean Hendricks Award, for his effectiveness in engaging students in his subject matter area of religious studies. He served for many years as chair of liberal studies. Dr. Davis, who served as humanities chair, is beloved by Mercer alumni and taught philosophy and religion for many years to students who clamored for his classes.”

Anderson, originally from Greenville, Mississippi, is an informatics major completing his coursework this semester with plans to participate in commencement in May. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and has been selected multiple times to the President’s and Dean’s lists.

“I am surprised and honored to be the first recipient of the Harris Davis Transformational Power of Education Award,” said Anderson. “I would like to thank all of my professors in their efforts to educate me, and especially Dr. Feng Liu for helping guide me toward my career goals.”

To be eligible for the award, students must be enrolled in the College of Professional Advancement and classified as seniors, with the majority of their credits earned at Mercer and a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. Students who have successfully balanced academic endeavors with full- or part-time employment, family responsibilities and/or community service are given preference. Students are nominated by faculty members, and nominations are considered by a selection committee consisting of faculty members as well as assistant and associate deans.

“Ricks joined us in 2017. Since the first time he took a class, he has demonstrated consistently outstanding work. He has always set an excellent example for any class and is always humble,” said Dr. Liu, professor and program coordinator of informatics. “His community-based capstone project is a collaboration among our client, a Ph.D. student from the College of Nursing and the DeKalb County Public Health Department. The health department needed a software application for teenagers who have chronic conditions to remind them to take medications on time and to follow up with their doctors. I hope Ricks’ journey in informatics will inspire many others who are also mid-career changers. I am very proud of him.”

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