Dr. Jack Mahaney, Last School of Engineering Founding Faculty Member, to Retire


MACON – Dr. Jack Mahaney, PE, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is retiring this year after 29 years of teaching in the School of Engineering. Of the faculty and staff who founded the School in September 1985, he is the last still at Mercer.

“It was a hectic time, “recalled Dr. Mahaney of the initial days. “We all arrived Sept. 1, and classes began Sept. 10, so we had a very limited time to find classrooms, enroll students, write syllabi and all the rest of it. But we got it done.” 

Coincidentally, the children of some of those initial students are Mercer engineering students today.

During his time at Mercer, Dr. Mahaney has taught classes across the mechanical engineering curriculum, and has also taught both freshman and senior design courses. In the 1990s, he was one of the faculty advisers to Mercer's solar car racing team. When he joined the management team of intercollegiate solar car race Sunrayce, he brought Sunryace 99 and its 40 university teams to Mercer for an overnight stop. During that same period, from 1997-2002, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wales Swansea, working on his degree part-time (and flying to Wales 17 times), while he continued to be a full-time faculty member. After completing his degree, he spent several terms on the House of Delegates, including one year as chair. More recently, Dr. Mahaney spent a five-year term as chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Asked if he has a favorite memory of Mercer, he replied, “My favorite memory is the students. So many wonderful students over the years I've had the pleasure to get to know and to work with. I shall definitely miss the students.”

While Dr. Mahaney has been dealing with bone cancer for most of the past year, he reports that he is in remission and ready to advance to retired life. His plans include continuing his bagpiping and sailing, and traveling with his wife of 39 years, Colleen, including frequent trips to Mississippi to visit his 18-month-old grandson, Cesc.