MACON/ATLANTA – Mercer will confer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to more than 2,200 students in five commencements during May in Macon and Atlanta.
Commencement speakers will include President and CEO of Atrium Health Navicent Delvecchio Finley for the School of Medicine; Georgia Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Yvette Miller for Mercer Law School; Senior Partner at King & Spalding Richard “Doc” Schneider in Atlanta; as well as U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia Chief Judge Marc Treadwell and graduating senior Shailey Shah in Macon.
The Atlanta and Macon ceremonies are ticketed events. Livestream coverage of all ceremonies will be available at www.mercer.edu/commencement/.
Participants and guests are asked to bring and wear masks for all ceremonies, as well as follow posted instructions for social distancing and other safety measures. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, like shortness of breath and persistent coughing, should not attend the ceremonies.
School of Medicine
The School of Medicine will hold its ceremony on Saturday, May 8, at 2 p.m. in Hawkins Arena inside the University Center.
Finley will deliver his address to 187 candidates for degrees from School of Medicine campuses in Macon, Savannah and Columbus.
A Georgia native, Finley received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Emory University before obtaining a master’s degree in public policy from the Sanford Institute for Public Policy at Duke University.
He quickly established himself within the health care industry, becoming a first-time CEO in his mid-30s. He has been recognized by industry peers with several awards and commendations, including Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Minorities in Healthcare Watch List and its Up and Comers Award, Becker’s Hospital Review Top Healthcare Executives under 40, and he received the Robert S. Hudgens Young Healthcare Executive of the Year Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Finley is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He serves on the American College of Healthcare Executives Board of Governors, as a board member for the American Hospital Association, a member of the Council on Healthcare Spending and Value and immediate past-chair of the America’s Essential Hospitals Institute. He was also chair-elect of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems and a member of the California Hospitals Association board of directors, as well as multiple locally based health boards, prior to his selection to lead Atrium Health Navicent.
School of Law
The School of Law will hold its ceremony on Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m. in Hawkins Arena.
Miller, who earned her bachelor’s and law degrees from Mercer and serves on the University’s Board of Trustees, will deliver her address to 118 candidates for degrees.
Miller was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1999, becoming the first African American woman to serve on the court in the history of the state. In 2009, she became the first African American woman to serve the court as chief judge. Among many career highlights, she implemented the e-filing initiative that greatly improved access to the appellate court for attorneys and parties throughout the state of Georgia.
Prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, Miller served on the State Court of Fulton County. She was the first woman, first African American and youngest person to serve as director/judge of the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. She also served as an administrative law judge on the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, as senior in-house litigation counsel for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and as one of the first female prosecutors in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. She began her private practice career in Jesup, where she also owned and operated a car dealership.
Miller, who established an endowed scholarship for students at Mercer Law School to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, was honored with the unveiling of her portrait at the Mercer Law Day celebration in 2019.
The University will hold two ceremonies for Atlanta campus graduates on Sunday, May 16, at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.
The School of Business, College of Education, College of Professional Advancement and School of Theology will participate in a 9 a.m. ceremony, and the College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions will follow in a 4 p.m. ceremony.
Schneider, who earned his law degree from Mercer and served multiple terms as a University Trustee, will deliver greetings from the Board of Trustees to a total of 1,118 candidates for degrees across the two ceremonies.
Schneider graduated first in his class from Mercer Law School in 1981, and, thanks to his leadership, his graduating class created an endowed scholarship fund at the School.
A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he focuses on the defense of product liability claims and complex commercial disputes and is also an appellate advocate arguing cases in appellate courts across the country on a broad range of subject matters. With more than 35 years of legal experience, he is a trustee of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and gives lectures on the history of the Court and its controversial cases.
Schneider served for two years as chair of Mercer’s Board of Trustees and for many years on the Mercer University Press Board of Directors, including taking on the role of Master of Ceremonies for the annual Mercer Press Authors Luncheon.
The University will hold a ceremony for Macon campus graduates at Five Star Stadium on Monday, May 17, at 8:15 a.m.
Treadwell, who earned his law degree from Mercer and is currently serving his second term as a University Trustee, will deliver greetings from the Board of Trustees to 800 candidates for degrees.
Treadwell joined the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in 2010 after his appointment by President Barack Obama and unanimous confirmation by the Senate. He became chief judge of the court in 2020.
Prior to his appointment, he was a private practice attorney in Atlanta and Macon, and since 1999, he has served as an adjunct professor at Mercer Law School.
In addition to his service to Mercer’s Board of Trustees, Treadwell serves as a trustee of the Peyton Anderson Foundation, a trustee of the Walter F. George Foundation, a judicial fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Shah, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major from Hixson, Tennessee, will serve as this year’s student speaker for the Macon commencement.
A pre-med student with a mindset to tackle global issues, Shah has worked for more than three years on a research project combating antibiotic resistance that was recently published. Her sophomore year, she was awarded a research grant at the Institute for Bioorganic Chemistry in Jülich, Germany, where she worked to characterize the antimicrobial potential in rice protein.
She has also traveled abroad to learn about global health issues directly. In Vietnam, she served amputee patients as a prosthetic fitter; in Cuba, she engaged with community medical professionals to understand their national health care system; and in India, she shadowed physicians and learned about alternative medicine.
Shah has also devoted significant time and energy to Mercer’s community through her leadership. She participated in Leadership Mercer, the Mercer Ambassador Program and the Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club. She also co-founded Real Talk: Student Edition, a platform for student well-being where students share their stories and normalize conversations about mental illness and life challenges.