Mercer University Expecting Record Entering Class for Second Straight Year


MACON, Ga. – For the second year in a row, Mercer University is expecting its largest-ever entering class, as more than 800 incoming students, including freshmen and transfers, are set to move in on the Macon campus beginning this Saturday.

The traditional start of the academic year comes on Monday, Aug. 19, with Fall Convocation in Willingham Auditorium, with classes set to begin on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Enrollment figures won't become official until the 15th class day.

This record number of students arrives at one of the most exciting times in school history, with Mercer set to dedicate the new Cruz Plaza, which has transformed the center of the Macon campus, on Friday, Aug. 30, and then play its first collegiate football game since 1941 a day later.

The Mercer tradition of Move-In Day runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, with upperclassmen, faculty and staff available to help first-year students move into residence halls.

Following move-in and lunch, students and their families can grab a snack and have their picture taken with University mascots Toby and Tot from 2-3 p.m. in the University Center. A welcome ceremony will follow in Hawkins Arena from 3-3:30 p.m., where President William D. Underwood will speak.

The Bear Beginnings orientation schedule begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday with check-in at Willingham Hall. The official class photo will be taken and class T-shirts will be handed out on Cruz Plaza at 6:30 p.m. A House Party will follow in Willingham Hall at 7:15 p.m., where new students will meet their peer advisers and orientation groups.

After spending much of Sunday in orientation groups, all new students will reconvene for a First-Year Carnival on the UC Intramural Courts from 7-9 p.m., featuring food, a DJ, inflatables and a rock-climbing wall.

The University will hold its annual Fall Convocation on Monday at 2 p.m. in Willingham Auditorium. President Underwood will deliver the convocation address. The event also features faculty from the Macon campus in full regalia and a first-year student processional from the University Center across campus to Willingham.

First-year and returning students will then head to the annual Bear Fair in the University Center, 4-6 p.m., to learn about ways to become more involved on and off campus. More than 130 student organizations, campus offices, nonprofits and local businesses are expected in the Hawkins Arena concourse and Heritage Hall.

About Mercer University

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 12 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing, health professions, and continuing and professional studies – on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah – and four regional academic centers across the state. The Mercer Health Sciences Center, launched July 1, 2012, includes the University's medical, nursing, health sciences and pharmacy schools. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals – Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.