Mercer Hosts Great Books Academy for High School Students


MACON – Mercer University's McDonald Center for America's Founding Principles and the Great Books Program hosted the third Great Books Academy for High School Students July 10-15 on the Macon campus.

The program, offered this summer for the first time since 2012, invited 14 students to immerse themselves in the college experience while also being exposed to the breadth and depth of Mercer's liberal arts offerings.

“The Great Books Academy is a wonderful opportunity for Mercer University to host top-notch high school students and to expose them to one of our premier academic programs,” said Dr. Anita Gustafson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “By giving these young people a flavor of what they might expect as a Mercer student, we hope they will one day choose to attend Mercer and enroll in our Great Books program.”

The students roomed in Mercer Hall, ate meals in the Fresh Food Company and explored campus, including tours of facilities such as the Center for Collaborative Journalism and the medical school.

In the mornings, the high-schoolers discussed classic texts by Homer, Herodotus, Montaigne, Lavoisier and Madison with Dr. Charlotte Thomas, professor of philosophy and co-director of the McDonald Center.

In the afternoons, they participated in activities such as a seminar on Shakespeare in popular culture with Dr. Deneen Senasi, associate professor of English; a creative writing and poetry session with Dr. Gordon Johnston, professor of English; and a perspective drawing class with Eric O'Dell, assistant professor of art.

On the final evening of the program, the students traveled to Theatre Macon's Middle Georgia Summer Theatre Festival, where they enjoyed a production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.”

“The high school students impressed me every day with their thoughtfulness, careful reading and lively discussion. It was a real pleasure to introduce them to Great Books pedagogy, to read with them some wonderful short works, and to see them shine,” said Dr. Thomas, who serves as co-director of the Great Books Academy alongside Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Great Books Program.

Applications for the 2017 Great Books Academy for High School Students will be available this fall on the McDonald Center's website at