Dr. Jean Hendricks is regarded as one of Mercer University’s most beloved faculty members, with many remembering her for the love, care and concern she showed not only to her students but everyone around her. Today, her name is synonymous with teaching excellence. Here’s how she became a Mercer Legend.
Dr. Jean Hendricks
Mercer connection: Served as a faculty member and dean at Mercer for 26 years
Years at Mercer: 1964-90
What she did: Dr. Jean Hendricks, a 1942 graduate of Tift College who went on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees from Florida State University, joined Mercer as a psychology professor in 1964. She became chair of the Department of Psychology, and in 1973, she was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in Atlanta, holding the position for 10 years before returning to teaching.
Dr. Hendricks remained on Mercer’s faculty until 1990, when she left to teach at Brewton-Parker College. During her time at Mercer, she successfully started teaching programs at Central State Hospital and Atlanta-area prisons, as well as co-founded the First Year Seminar program with her brother, Dr. Joseph “Papa Joe” Hendricks, another notable faculty member and administrator.
Why she is a legend: Both faculty and students regarded Dr. Hendricks dearly. When she stepped down as dean, The Mercer Post, a newspaper of Atlanta’s College of Arts and Sciences, devoted its cover and four inside pages to photos and memories of her. Dr. Hendricks impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of lives within the Mercer community, who remember her as a compassionate and strong leader.
Dr. Hendricks died in 2006 at the age of 84, but her memory is kept alive. Each year, the Joe and Jean Hendricks Excellence in Teaching Award is given to an outstanding faculty member who exemplifies the qualities of the two siblings.
Quotable: “Her untiring interest in, devotion to, and encouragement of both the excellence and spirit of instruction have had profound impact on all disciplines, and have produced a remarkable environment of academic freedom, community support, and total commitment in pursuit of education in its best sense.” — Faculty of Atlanta’s College of Arts and Sciences in a 1983 letter of appreciation about Dr. Hendricks
Mercer Legends is a series that highlights iconic figures who left a lasting impact on the University and its faculty, staff and students, as well as the community.