Mercer University Board Elects New Trustees, Officers


MACON, Ga. – Mercer University's Board of Trustees elected a new chair, installed nine new members, and elected longtime trustee W. Homer Drake Jr. as only the board's 11th lifetime member during its annual Homecoming meeting today.

The board also was briefed by President William D. Underwood on planning for a new undergraduate sciences building on the Macon campus and a new medical education building on the Savannah campus. Fundraising is under way and architectural plans are being finalized for both projects. The Macon sciences building would accommodate recent growth in the University's biology and chemistry programs and allow renovation of Willet Science Center for sciences and related programs. The Savannah medical education facility would be an addition to the Hoskins Building, which currently houses School of Medicine programs at Memorial University Medical Center. The expansion would allow the School of Medicine to accommodate more M.D. students on that campus.

Atlanta attorney and Mercer Law School graduate Richard A. (Doc) Schneider, formerly chair of the board's Executive Committee, was elected chair of the board. Thomas (Tommy) Malone, also a Mercer Law School graduate, was elected chair of the Executive Committee.

New trustees who began their five-year terms at the conclusion of today's meeting include Heather Darden, corporate counsel at RaceTrac Petroleum in Atlanta and a 1998 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts; A.V. Elliott, Macon businessman and a 1956 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts; O. Gene Gabbard, Cary, N.C., businessman; William J. (Bill) Ireland Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Dalton; Spencer B. King III, Atlanta physician and a 1959 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts; Zell Miller, former Georgia governor and U.S. senator from Young Harris; James W. Thomas Jr., Washington, D.C. attorney and 1993 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts; the Honorable Hugh P. Thompson, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and graduate of Mercer Law School from Milledgeville; and the Honorable Marc Treadwell, judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia from Forsyth.

Trustees who rotated off the board and were recognized for their service include James A. (Jim) Bishop, attorney, Sea Island; G. Marshall Butler Sr., Macon businessman; Dwight J. Davis, attorney, Atlanta; William A. (Bill) Fickling Jr., Macon businessman; David E. Hudson, attorney, Augusta; J. Reg Murphy, vice chairman of the National Geographic Society, Sea Island; Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur; and the Honorable W. Louis Sands, judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Albany.

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