Penfield College to Showcase Stories of St. Simons Island and Rural Putnam County

Atlanta Spire

SIMONS ISLAND – Mercer University’s Penfield College will hold a free, public presentation May 19, 2-4 p.m., at the Harrington School, 275 S. Harrington Rd., on St. Simons Island to showcase the latest work in a seven-year research-based, service-learning effort to document African-American history in coastal Georgia.

Over the past seven years, Penfield College students have conducted interviews with members of the African-American community on St. Simons Island in collaboration with the St. Simons African-American Heritage Coalition.

“The goal of this work has been to preserve the history of African-Americans in this area and to make this history more available and visible to a broader public,” said Dr. Melanie Pavich, associate professor of interdisciplinary and historical studies and college writing coordinator.

This year’s presentation, titled “Facing Home: Stories of St. Simons Island and Rural Putnam County,” also includes interviews by students from Putnam County High School in Central Georgia.

These interviews “explore the county’s complex history, face it honestly and use the past to begin steering Putnam County toward its future,” said Dr. Christopher Lawton, director of experiential learning for Putnam County Charter School System and Public Humanities Fellow at the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Lawton’s work with Putnam County High School was made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

About Penfield College

 Mercer University’s Penfield College, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving post-traditional learners. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Penfield’s programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary experiences that integrate theory and practice. In addition to providing general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer, Penfield offers degree programs in areas including technology, public safety, public and human services, leadership and administration, healthcare and liberal arts. Programs are offered on Mercer’s campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County and Henry County, and online. To learn more, visit