Provost appoints search committee

MACON – Dr. C. David Keith, dean of Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music since 2013, has announced that he will retire at the end of this academic year. Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis has appointed a seven-member search committee to assist in the recruitment of Dr. Keith’s successor.

Prior to being appointed dean in 2013, Dr. Keith served as interim dean, professor of music and director of graduate studies at Mercer. He joined the School of Music’s faculty in 2010 as director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies in Church Music after serving for 27 years as professor of conducting and church music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

He also has served as director of music and worship at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Nashville, adjunct professor of music at Belmont University, chorus director for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and director of choral activities at Howard Payne University, as well as interim minister of music at a number of congregations.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with David Keith over the past decade,” Dr. Davis said. “He is a thoughtful leader and strong advocate for students. His contributions to Mercer extend well beyond the School of Music. We will miss his many gifts and positive influence, but wish him the best in a well-earned retirement.”

Dr. Keith received Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Southwestern Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree from William Jewell College. He has done post-doctoral work at the Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Stuttgart, where he studied with Dieter Kurz. He has also studied with Frieder Bernius (Kammerchor Stuttgart); Roger Wagner, director of the Roger Wagner Chorale; Sir David Willcocks, director of the London Bach Choir; and Donald Neuen, director of choral activities at UCLA.

“It has been my tremendous pleasure to have had the opportunity to be at Mercer University and the Townsend School of Music,” Dr. Keith said. “The support of the administration, faculty and community has been outstanding. The incredibly talented students in the School of Music have been a constant source of inspiration and are committed to helping to transform the world through music. I will be forever grateful for spending the last chapter of my career at such an institution as Mercer.”

The dean search committee will be chaired by Dr. Christopher Schmitz, professor of music theory in the School of Music. Other members include Creston Groover, chair of the Townsend School of Music Alumni Board of Directors and music director at First Baptist Church of Jesup; Carolyn McAfee Bruner, Mercer Life Trustee; Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of Mercer’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings; Dr. Nathan Myrick, assistant professor of church music; Dr. Julie Petherbridge, dean of Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business; and Dr. Stanley Roberts, associate dean of the School of Music and the Arthur Lowndes Rich Professor of Choral Conducting.

“David Keith has been a highly effective dean of the Townsend School of Music and a valued colleague,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “He has been instrumental in greatly expanding the School’s endowment, recruiting the most talented music students to be found anywhere, and cultivating a faculty that is fully invested in the best outcomes possible for our students.”

About the School of Music

Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute within Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America’s most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season’s concerts, visit www.mercer.edu/music, or call (478) 301-2748.

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.​