Mercer Launches Center for Leadership and Ethics to Develop Capable Global Leaders for the 21st Century


MACON – Mercer University President William D. Underwood today announced the launch of the Center for Leadership and Ethics, a multidisciplinary effort to develop global leaders required for the demands, challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

“I asked retired Lt. Gen. Mick Kicklighter, a Mercer trustee and 1955 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts, to help me envision how the University could continue to support the leadership development of our students across all locations and programs, building on a strong heritage of equipping leaders,” said Underwood.

“With an alumni base including the current chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, a former attorney general of the United States, 12 governors – including Georgia's current governor, two United States senators, and many more Mercerians leading in corporate boardrooms, as entrepreneurs, in higher education, as principals, teachers, and superintendents in our public and private schools, and numerous other walks of life, Mercer has been involved in the support and development of leadership since its founding.”

The Center's work will focus on the coordination of all initiatives across the University – building synergies where appropriate, maintaining the integrity of existing programs and developing new ideas – to support leadership development across all programs and locations.

“I am honored that the president asked me to assist with the work to highlight, strengthen and assess leadership and ethics as an integral part of the Mercer experience,” Kicklighter said. “Being a Mercer graduate, I am grateful for what the institution has done for me, and I look forward to working with faculty and staff on this important initiative in the life of the University.”

Included in this evening's launch announcement in the Presidents Dining Room was the Center's inaugural lecture by Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“If we ever needed young people to be well schooled in history and philosophy and sociology and anthropology and science, today's the day,” Hayden said as part of his presentation, which he titled “Leadership in a Troubled World.”

As director of the CIA from 2006 to 2009, Hayden was responsible for overseeing the collection of information concerning the plans, intentions and capabilities of America's adversaries, producing timely analysis for decision-makers, and conducting covert operations to thwart terrorists and other enemies of the U.S.

Hayden also served as the country's first principal deputy director of national intelligence and was the nation's highest-ranking intelligence officer. Prior to that, he was commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service.

Hayden is currently principal of Chertoff Group, using his broad geographic and political knowledge to brief clients on intelligence matters worldwide – including developments in cybersecurity – that may affect their businesses.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Duquesne University and pursued postgraduate studies at the Defense Intelligence School conducted by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Hayden recently published a new book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, and he currently serves as a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University.

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.