Eighth annual Alumni Awards Dinner recognizes outstanding Mercerians

Several Mercerians were recognized for their contributions to Mercer University during the eighth annual Alumni and Friends Awards Reception and Dinner held Nov. 10 during Homecoming. 

Eleven Mercerians were recognized for their contributions to Mercer University during the eighth annual Alumni and Friends Awards Reception and Dinner held Nov. 10 during Homecoming. 

The Mercer Alumni Association honored recipients of the Alumni by Choice Awards, Thomas Sewell Plunkett Young Alumnus Award, Meritorious Service Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Mercer Athletic Foundation also recognized the newest class of inductees into the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame. 

The Alumni by Choice Awards were created to salute individuals who did not graduate from Mercer but have demonstrated loyalty to the University over the years. This year’s recipients were Lynn Dillard Doss, of Blue Ridge, and Dr. Fred Schnell and Kim Taylor Schnell, of Macon.

Doss is the wife and law partner of Double Bear and Alpha Tau Omega alumnus Oliver Harris Doss. Her love for Mercer began in the early 1990s when she attended her first ATO Alumni Reunion. Since then, she has kept Mercer ATO members connected by organizing reunions and events and maintaining a monthly newsletter. 

The Schnells are both actively involved in the community, serving on boards for local schools and nonprofit organizations, including the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer. They also are longstanding supporters of the School of Music and School of Medicine. Dr. Schnell currently serves as a professor of medicine in hematology and oncology with the School of Medicine.

headshot of robert engeman
Robert Engeman

The Thomas Sewell Plunkett Young Alumnus Award, given to an alum who has graduated within the last 10 years and demonstrated continued support of the University, was presented to Robert F. Engeman III of Greensboro. 

Engeman is a 2011 graduate of the School of Business and earned his MBA at Mercer in 2016. While a student, he was team captain of the first varsity lacrosse team in Mercer history. An active member of the Mercer Athletic Foundation Board, Engeman regularly attends football games and has generously supported the golf and lacrosse programs, as well as several special projects. He is one of the University’s largest donors in his graduating class and younger.

woman in a blue blazer (mary etta clark sanders) stands next to man in suit (dr. drayton sanders iii)
Mary Etta Clark Sanders and Dr. Drayton Sanders III

The Meritorious Service Award, given to an individual who supports the Alumni Association and the University through contributions of time, talents and financial resources, was presented to Dr. Drayton Sanders III and Mary Etta Clark Sanders of Dalton. 

The Sanderses met while students at Mercer. Dr. Drayton Sanders III, who would have graduated in 1959, left the University to earn his Doctor of Medicine. As a physician, he served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force, practiced internal medicine and served as a consultant before retiring to work with indigent clinics. He has served as a Mercer trustee and member of the McAfee Advisory Board. He later completed his bachelor’s degree at Mercer and was awarded it in 2010. 

Mary Etta Clark Sanders graduated from Mercer in 1958. She taught high school English before becoming a full-time mother while remaining active in the community. She has served as a Mercer trustee and president of the Half Century Club. The Sanderses are recipients of the Monroe Swilley Award for Christian Statesmanship from the School of Theology and Life Members of Mercer’s President’s Club.

headshot of jerry s. wilson
Jerry S. Wilson

The Distinguished Alumnus Award, given to an individual who serves his or her profession in an outstanding manner and, in doing so, brings honor to the individual and University, was presented to Jerry S. Wilson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. 

Wilson is a 1986 graduate of the School of Business, where he earned his MBA in marketing. Wilson spent 24 years at The Coca-Cola Co., serving from regional account executive to a board-elected senior vice president. After retiring from Coca-Cola, he founded an independent business consulting firm, started a commercial organic beverage company and has coached executives. Wilson has served two terms as a Mercer trustee and chaired the board’s Marketing Committee. He is a past recipient of the University’s Meritorious Service Award, and he and his wife, Ginny Wilson, who last year was named an Alumna by Choice, are Life Members of Mercer’s President’s Club. 

The Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame, which originated in 1971, welcomed four new members: Ian Cameron, men’s soccer; Wesley Duke, men’s basketball; Cory Gearrin, baseball; and Tony Moye.

Cameron, a 2010 School of Business graduate, was a four-year member of the Bears men’s soccer team. As a student-athlete, he was a two-time All-Atlantic Sun selection. He ranks among the program’s top 10 leaders in points, goals and assists. He earned all-region, all-conference and All-SoCon Tournament recognitions as a senior. He now serves as South Georgia Tormenta FC head coach and technical director. 

Duke, a 2004 School of Business graduate, was a four-year member of the Bears men’s basketball team. As a senior, he ranked fifth in the Atlantic Sun Conference in rebounding average and posted a team-high of 40 blocks. He finished fourth in the nationally televised slam dunk contest held in conjunction with the 2005 NCAA Final Four. Duke is 24th on the all-time scoring list at Mercer with 1,141 points. He also is second in the history of the program in blocks and 10th for rebounds. Duke went on to play with the Denver Broncos from 2005-2006.

Gearrin, a 2007 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate, was a four-year member of the Bears baseball team. As a student, he registered a 4-3 record and a 2.44 ERA in 44-1/3 innings pitched in a single season. Gearrin also logged a 20-19 record and a 2.88 ERA in 363.0 innings pitched at the professional level. He has seen action with seven MLB teams, including a four-year stint with the San Francisco Giants and a three-season stay in the Atlanta Braves system. 

Moye, a 1973 graduate of the College of Pharmacy and founder of Moye’s Pharmacy, is one of the University’s most loyal and generous supporters. He has served on the Board of Visitors for the College of Pharmacy and is a recipient of the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. In addition, he is a Life Member of the University’s President’s Club and Mercer Athletic Foundation and has served as a Mercer trustee. In 2012, he and his wife, Nancy Moye, made a gift to name the Football and Lacrosse Complex. They also provided the lead gift for the new Pharmacy and Health Sciences Center in Atlanta. 

To view a photo gallery from the Alumni Awards Dinner, click here.


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Jennifer Falk
Jennifer Falk is director of digital communications at Mercer. She edits and writes feature stories for The Den and examines web data and analytics to drive content decisions. She also creates and supervises the creation of content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters.