Mercer University President, College Hill Alliance Receive Awards from Historic Macon Foundation


MACON – Mercer University President William D. Underwood and The College Hill Alliance were among the individuals and organizations recognized for local preservation efforts at Historic Macon Foundation's annual Preservation Awards at the Douglass Theatre on May 6.

Underwood received the Maryel Ramsay Battin Award for exceptional contributions to the mission and organization of Historic Macon Foundation over many years.

“Under President Underwood's guidance, Mercer University has become a national model for colleges and universities with regards to neighborhood revitalization,” said Heather Moore, new chair of Historic Macon's Board of Trustees, who presented the award.

Moore cited the University's Down Payment Assistance Program, its adaptive use of buildings such as the McDuffie Center for Strings and Tattnall Square Center for the Arts, as well as its cooperation with Historic Macon to save and move houses on Oglethorpe Street and the historic Tattnall Apartments as preservation triumphs under his leadership.

The College Hill Alliance received the Thad E. Murphey Chair's Choice Award, which was created last year as an honor to be judged and bestowed by the chair of the Board of Trustees. The award's namesake was a driving force behind the research and survey of Macon's historic buildings in the 1960s, which laid the foundation for an inventory of historic properties that now exceeds 6,300.

“We've all benefited from their hard work and dedication, so we're thrilled to recognize this group of amazing people. This year's Thad E. Murphey Award is given to the College Hill Alliance for the work they have done in the College Hill Corridor,” said Joy Dyer, outgoing chair of the board, who presented the award. “Thanks to the support of the Knight Foundation and Mercer University and its talented staff, the College Hill Alliance has made improvements to our community that will benefit generations to come.”

Historic Macon Foundation, which aims to revitalize the Macon community by preserving architecture and sharing history, became the regional leader in historic preservation on July 31, 2003, with the merger of the Middle Georgia Historical Society and the Macon Heritage Foundation. The merged organization inherited the missions and activities of both constituent groups, effectively making Historic Macon the region's historical society of note since 1964.

About the College Hill Alliance

Initially established with a grant to Mercer University from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2009, the College Hill Alliance assists the community in creating positive change to the physical, social and economic fabric of the College Hill Corridor, a two-square mile area between Mercer's campus and Macon's downtown business district. For more information, contact Jessica Walden at the College Hill Alliance: (478) 301-2014 or Visit

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.​