Commencements to Include Nearly 2,200 Students in Macon and Atlanta

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Atlanta Commencement

MACON/ATLANTA – Mercer University will confer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to nearly 2,200 students in four commencements during May in Macon and Atlanta.

School of Medicine

The School of Medicine will hold its ceremony on Saturday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Hawkins Arena inside the University Center. The commencement speaker will be State Rep. Terry England, who serves Georgia House of Representatives District 116.

Since taking office in 2004, England has served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee as well as on the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Industry and Labor, and Ways and Means committees.

As co-chair of the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, he has worked to find sustainable solutions to meet the healthcare needs of rural Georgians and their community hospitals. He also serves on the House Rural Development Council studying ways to protect and grow the state’s rural communities, where access to health care is a leading concern.

He will deliver his address to 162 candidates for degrees from School of Medicine campuses in Macon, Savannah and Columbus, and will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Additionally, Dr. William J. Hoskins, former executive director of surgical activities in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

A renowned gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Hoskins was senior vice president for oncology and research and director of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah from 2002-2007 and held the rank of professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mercer University School of Medicine.

Mercer’s medical education and research facility in Savannah is named in his honor.

Atlanta

The University will hold its largest ceremony on Saturday, May 12, at 8:30 a.m. on the lawn of the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta. The commencement will include greetings from Mercer’s Board of Trustees delivered by chairman Dr. Spencer B. King III.

Dr. King is a 1959 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and professor emeritus of medicine at Emory University. A pioneer in cardiac catheterization, coronary arteriography and interventional cardiology, he was co-developer of the multi-purpose technique of coronary arteriography and has directed invasive and interventional cardiology training for more than 150 cardiology fellows.

In 1972, he became the first director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory of Emory University Hospital, and in 1980, he recruited Dr. Andreas Gruentzig to begin its interventional cardiology program.

Dr. King has served as president of the American College of Cardiology and Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions. He is currently chairman of the New York State Cardiac Advisory Board and has participated on many committees of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

He will deliver greetings to 1,115 candidates for degrees from the College of Pharmacy, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, Tift College of Education, James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Penfield College and the College of Health Professions.

School of Law

Mercer’s School of Law will hold its ceremony on May 12 at 10 a.m. in Hawkins Arena. The commencement speaker will be Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a 1964 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and 1966 graduate of Mercer Law School.

Since taking office in 2011, Deal has led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for three years in a row — a first in Georgia history — and helped create more than 540,000 private sector jobs. In the last six years, Georgia’s job growth has outpaced the national average, while its population has jumped from 10th to eighth nationally.

A Sandersville native, Deal served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta after graduating with his law degree from Mercer. He then began a private law practice in Gainesville, the hometown of his wife, Sandra Deal. While his wife taught in Hall County public schools, he began a career in public service, working as a prosecutor, judge, state senator and U.S. congressman for Georgia’s 9th District. He was elected as Georgia’s 82nd governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

Deal will deliver his address to 120 candidates for degrees.

Macon

The University will hold its Macon ceremony on May 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Hawkins Arena. The commencement will include greetings from Mercer’s Board of Trustees delivered by board member the Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor, as well as an address from student commencement speaker Jaz Buckley.

Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author, professor and Episcopal priest. She was named one of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world following a worldwide survey conducted by Baylor University.

She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer and the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women. She currently is working on her 14th book, Holy Envy, forthcoming from HarperOne in August. Her work has been translated into five languages.

Buckley is a senior from Columbus and a double-major in political science and women’s and gender studies.

In 2015, she became the first freshman and first African-American to be named top speaker at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) tournament, the nation’s largest parliamentary debate championship. Earlier this year, she and fellow senior Kyle Bligen became the first African-American team to win the NPDA national championship, defeating 45 other institutions and capping her career as the most decorated debater in Mercer’s history.

Buckley has volunteered as a debate coach in the local Macon community and in South Africa as part of a Mercer On Mission trip. She has been an A.V. Elliott Conference presenter, BEAR Day presenter and Pilgrimage to Penfield speaker. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a law degree.

Taylor and Buckley will deliver remarks to 756 candidates for degrees from the College of Liberal Arts, Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, School of Engineering, Tift College of Education, Penfield College, Townsend School of Music and College of Health Professions.

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​