MACON – Mercer University has lost one of its most passionate and dedicated supporters with the passing of alumna Ruth B. Drake, wife of Life Trustee and former Board Chair Judge Homer Drake. Ms. Drake died early this morning in Newnan. Funeral arrangements are pending.
“Ruth Drake was a consummate cheerleader for her beloved alma mater, Mercer University,” said President William D. Underwood. “She loved this institution and its students, and along with Judge Drake formed a husband-wife team that advocated for the University everywhere they went. The Mercer community will miss her upbeat spirit and her unrelenting loyalty. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Drake family.”
Ms. Drake graduated from Mercer in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in education. In addition to serving as vice president of Chi Omega Sorority, vice president of Kappa Delta Epsilon National Education Society and holding membership in the Cardinal Key Honorary Society, Ms. Drake enjoyed competing for Chi Omega in intramural tennis. Her love of athletics began at an early age. While in high school, she was a member of the varsity basketball and tennis teams and was awarded the “Outstanding Athlete” trophy in 1955.
Of her time spent at Mercer, Ms. Drake once said, “I remember the wonderful memories surrounding the Co-op where boys met girls, snacks were available and mail was picked up. The competitive intramural games between the sororities were great memories for me. I enjoyed and love the sports arena where sororities competed against each other for the Outstanding Sorority trophy. Mercer was a school where people came from all walks of life, and we all bonded with each other as we studied, played and grew in body and spirit.”
After teaching 10 years in DeKalb County Schools, Dougherty County Schools and Coweta County Schools, she married Judge Drake in 1969. Following the births of her two sons, Walter Homer Drake III and Taylor Bridges Drake, Ms. Drake opted to become a “stay-at-home mom.”
Residents of Newnan, the Drakes have generously supported the Mercer Law School and Mercer Athletics. They were also influential in the decision to open the University's newest regional academic center in Newnan five years ago.
After Mercer's 2010 decision to resume competition in intercollegiate football while Judge Drake was chair of the Board of Trustees, the Drakes made a lead gift to help construct a new stadium complex. In recognition of their significant gift, the field house was named in their honor and dedicated during Homecoming on Nov. 9, 2012.