MACON – Nine Mercerians were recognized for their contributions to the University during the fifth annual Alumni Awards Dinner held Nov. 8 during Homecoming.
The Mercer Alumni Association honored recipients of the Alumni by Choice Awards, Distinguished Alumnus Award, Meritorious Service Award and Thomas Sewell Plunkett Young 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 Kay Nelson of Macon, devoted fan and supporter of Mercer Athletics, the arts at Mercer and Mercer On Mission, as well as Aileen Rosso of San Juan, Puerto Rico, an enthusiastic longtime supporter who, along with members of her family, provided the lead gift for Cruz Plaza on the Macon campus.
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 Shane Buerster of Pooler.
Buerster, who earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Mercer in 2018, is founder of Z Beans Coffee, a local business that developed from a Mercer On Mission trip in order to create sustainable solutions for hardworking Ecuadorian farmers. Buerster, a former Mercer Innovation Center Fellow, currently oversees a 15-member team in Ecuador and 30 employees in Macon, where he has three coffee shops and a roasting facility.
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 Babs Baugh of San Antonio, Texas.
Baugh serves as president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. The foundation is named for her parents, who founded international food company Sysco, and supports causes related to meeting basic human needs, higher education, inclusivity initiatives, social justice and advocacy, arts and entertainment, and journalism. She also own Independent Traveler travel agency in San Antonio. She has been a generous support of Mercer in many capacities and served three terms on the University’s Board of Trustees.
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 the University, was presented to the Hon. Robert Reichert.
Reichert, who earned his Juris Doctor from Mercer in 1981, is currently in his second term as mayor of the consolidated Macon-Bibb County government. The final mayor of the city of Macon, he served in that capacity for six years, represented District 126 in the Georgia House of Representatives for 10 years and served on the Macon City Council for four years. His tenure as mayor has focused on growing Macon-Bibb to become the transportation, logistics and cultural hub of Middle Georgia.
The Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame, which originated in 1971, welcomed four new members in baseball players Michael and Mark Mimbs, women’s soccer player Kacie Hudson and play-by-play announcer Rick Cameron.
Michael Mimbs starred on the mound for Mercer’s baseball team alongside his brother, Mark, before being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 24th round of the 1990 MLB Draft. During the 1990 season, the left-hander struck out 126 batters – second-most in a single season in program history – and tossed seven complete games.
Mark Mimbs played alongside his brother, Michael, before he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round of the 1990 MLB Draft. He handled a heavy load of innings in the 1990 season, tossing eight complete games, which rank among Mercer’s single-season leaders. The two brothers combined to be one of the conference’s most formidable duos.
Hudson was a three-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference First Team selection and earned four total all-conference selections during her time at Mercer. In addition to an All-Freshman Team selection, Hudson earned two spots on the ASUN All-Tournament Team. Throughout her career, she tallied nine game-winning goals, which rank fourth in program history. She is among program career leaders in total goals with 19 and helped lead Mercer to a 2010 ASUN Tournament title and a NCAA Tournament berth.
Cameron is in his 15th year of calling radio play-by-play as the “Voice of the Bears” with more than 700 Mercer games under his belt. Included on his resume are radio broadcasts for Mercer’s football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball programs. He has been a pivotal voice in some of Mercer’s most historic athletics moments, including the University’s return to the football gridiron in 2013 and the men’s basketball team’s historic upset of Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
To view a photo gallery from the Alumni Awards Dinner, click here.