When freshman twins Matthew and William Smith started their fall semester classes at Mercer University, they continued what has become a family tradition.
Their parents, Dr. Alan Smith and Dr. Susan (Turk) Smith, are both alumni, and their older sister, Emily Smith, is a senior majoring in finance. Their older brother, Harrison, went to West Point.
“It’s gratifying for me that my kids would look at where their parents went to school and realize, ‘Wow, my parents got a good education, they learned a lot, they grew a lot, they had fun doing it and they made lifelong friends,” said Alan, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1986 and earned his Doctor of Medicine from the School of Medicine in 1991.
Susan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 1989 before pursuing dental school in Augusta.
The couple met at Mercer and now live in Savannah, where Alan practices obstetrics and gynecology and Susan works as a dentist.
They often came back to Macon with their children for football games, which exposed the siblings to the campus and fellow alumni. But each child decided independently that Mercer was the school for them.
Initially, Emily didn’t want to attend Mercer because her parents were alumni.
“I wanted to do my own thing and make my own path,” she said.
After taking a campus tour, she changed her mind.
She said she liked the size of Mercer, which has allowed her to form personal connections with professors and hold leadership roles, such as president of Phi Mu’s Mercer chapter. She’s also an analyst on the board of the Student-Managed Investment Fund.
William said he’s always wanted to go to Mercer. He sees the University’s alumni as well-rounded and hard-working people, which he aspires to be.
He said he appreciates Mercer’s atmosphere and had a particularly memorable moment during orientation when a professor remembered him from a scholarship interview.
Matthew said he chose Mercer because of his sister’s experiences, and he’s excited about going to school with his siblings.
Emily has lots of advice for her brothers, who also want to pursue majors in the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.
“I’ve told them since they both are planning on business school that if they just listen to me, I can tell them what classes to take, help them make their resume better, and have them learn from my mistakes,” she said.
She also had some practical advice for their first year: “Branch out and don’t just talk to each other or the few people you know from home. Really put yourself out there to make connections in the beginning of freshman year.”