MACON – Mercer University President William D. Underwood today announced the appointment of two-term Georgia governor and Mercer alumnus Nathan Deal to the position of Distinguished University Professor of Government, effective January 1, 2020.
“Governor Deal has had a long and highly distinguished career in public service,” said Underwood. “At Mercer our aspiration is that every Mercerian will positively change the world. That aspiration is fully realized in the life of Governor Deal. His presence on our faculty will be an inspiration to Mercer students.”
Deal, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Mercer, was twice elected to serve as Georgia’s governor, holding office from 2011 to 2019.
As the state’s top elected official, Deal led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for six years in a row — a first in Georgia history — and helped create more than 800,000 private sector jobs. During his tenure, Georgia became a global destination for companies in a wide range of industries. Under his leadership, Georgia produced six balanced budgets, saved millions of taxpayer dollars by maintaining Georgia’s AAA bond rating and grew the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to more than $2.5 billion.
“I am honored to join the Mercer team,” Deal said. “The outstanding education I received at Mercer gave me a great foundation for public service. I welcome the opportunity to give back.”
A Sandersville native and former student body president at Mercer, Deal served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta after graduating with a 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. While serving in Congress, Deal was a member of the Mercer Board of Trustees from 1994-1999.
The Deals have four adult children and six grandchildren.
The highest academic rank available to a Mercer faculty member is Distinguished University Professor. Deal joins current Distinguished University Professors Dr. Sarah Gardner, Dr. Wallace L. Daniel and Dr. Adam Kiefer in the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. David P. Gushee in the McAfee School of Theology; Robert McDuffie in the Townsend School of Music; and Dr. Ha Van Vo in the School of Engineering.