MACON – Former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Mercer, will deliver the University’s 2022 Founders’ Day address Feb. 2 at 10:20 a.m. in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus. Limited seating will be available in observance of COVID-19 protocols.
Each year on Founders’ Day, a prominent Mercerian returns to campus to share how the University has influenced his or her life. The Heritage Life Committee of the Student Government Association (SGA) coordinates the annual convocation, which first took place at Mercer in 1891.
“Founders’ Day is an annual event that the Student Government’s Heritage Life Committee hosts each February to celebrate Jesse Mercer and his legacy. This year, we are excited to announce Gov. Nathan Deal as our speaker. He will be sharing his Mercer experience and inspiring us to change the world,” said Junior Class President and Heritage Life Committee Chair Asia Cladd.
Deal, who in addition to being a Double Bear was appointed Distinguished University Professor of Government at Mercer, was twice elected to serve as Georgia’s governor, holding office from 2011 to 2019.
As the state’s top elected official, he 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.
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, Deal 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, he was a member of the Mercer Board of Trustees from 1994-1999.
The Deals have four adult children and six grandchildren.