MACON – Mercer’s Jack Tarver Library on Oct. 21 will unveil the latest installment of ancient artifacts from the Holmes Collection given to the University by Dr. and Mrs. Y. Lynn Holmes of Carrollton.

“Glass: The Substance That Shapes Our World” will open Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Tarver Library with a free event, open to the public, that will include the following faculty presentations:

  • Dr. Colleen Stapleton, professor of science in the College of Professional Advancement will speak on the history of glass.
  • Dr. Eniye Tebekaemi, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will speak on fiber optics and the importance of glass in computer science.
  • Dr. Emilianne Limbrick, assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will speak on the importance of glass in medical and scientific research.
  • Dr. Tom Bullington, lecturer of integrative studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Erin McClenathan, assistant professor of art in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will speak on the mirror and the modern concept of self in art and literature.

“The Holmes Collection has a phenomenal assortment of superb pieces of Roman glassware,” said Dr. R. Scott Nash, Columbus Roberts Professor of New Testament in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and curator of the exhibit, who will serve as master of ceremonies for Thursday’s event. “Making these artifacts available to the people of Central and South Georgia is exactly what Dr. and Mrs. Holmes intended when they made this generous donation to Mercer University. Additionally, the role the Romans played in the industrial production of glass has had a lasting, positive impact on the development of technology and culture.”

Dr. Holmes, born in Vidalia, graduated from Mercer in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. His interest in ancient artifacts developed during his time at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He began collecting artifacts during his graduate work at Brandeis University while earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in ancient history and ancient linguistics.

Multiple trips to the Hebrew University as well as leading a group of students from the University of West Georgia to Israel for an archaeological excavation deepened his passion for collecting artifacts. Professionally, he has served as a teacher, scholar and administrator, holding posts ranging from research fellow to professor to college president. He has published numerous scholarly papers on ancient history and the modern Middle East.

Mrs. Holmes was born to Christian parents in Palestine. She studied in a French Catholic school in Jerusalem and became fluent in four languages. She also studied at the University of West Georgia and Brewton-Parker College. She is a community speaker on the cultures, customs and people of the Middle East.

The Holmes Collection resides at Mercer so that it can serve as a resource on the ancient world for students, faculty and staff, as well as for the residents of Central and South Georgia. The first installment of artifacts from the collection was displayed in spring 2009.

“Dr. and Mrs. Y. Lynn Holmes have afforded the Mercer community the opportunity to experience tangibly the richness and complexity of ancient cultures through their gift of the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection,” said Dr. Jeffrey Waldrop, vice provost for the University Libraries. “This year’s exhibit, on the substance of glass, serves as a fascinating context by which to study the past. The Mercer University Libraries are honored to host this exciting event.”

For more information on the exhibit, contact Daniel Williams, University archivist and head of archives, special collections and digital initiatives, at or (478) 301-2493.