Second Annual Alumni Awards Dinner Recognizes Outstanding Mercerians During Homecoming

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MACON – Several Mercerians were recognized for their contributions to the University at the second annual Alumni Awards Dinner, held Nov. 4 during Homecoming.

Honorees included recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Meritorious Service Award and the Thomas Sewell Plunkett Young Alumnus Award. The Mercer Alumni Association also recognized the newest class of Alumni by Choice honorees and presented alumni chapter awards.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award, given to an individual who serves his or her profession in an outstanding manner and, in doing so, brings honor to the individual and the University, was presented to the Hon. James “Bubber” Epps of Dry Branch.

Epps, who earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from Mercer, is retired from his family's construction business and has served since 2009 as the State Representative for House District 144, composed of Bleckley, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties and parts of Bibb, Houston, Jones and Laurens counties. For more than 50 years, he has been a devoted alumnus and personal advocate for the University through his work and his public service.

The Meritorious Service Award, given to an individual who supports the Alumni Association and the University through contributions of time, talents and financial resources, was presented to Bob Hatcher of Macon.

Hatcher, who serves as chairman of MidCountry Bank, is the grandson of Eugene W. Stetson, for whom Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics is named. Hatcher has served multiple terms on the University's Board of Trustees and as a face and voice for Mercer at the city and state levels, including on Georgia's Board of Regents. He has provided steady and generous financial support to the University both personally and through his family's foundation.

The Thomas Sewell Plunkett Young Alumnus Award, given to an alum who has graduated within the last 10 years and demonstrated continued support of the University, was presented to Steuart Botchford of Boston, Massachusetts.

Botchford, who earned his Bachelor of Arts from Mercer, is a founder and managing partner of Ultima Capital Partners, an operator-led private equity firm that specializes in operating small to mid-size businesses. While a student, he was a Mercer Ambassador and president of the Student Government Association. Since graduation, Botchford has remained connected to Mercer, returning often, keeping in touch with classmates and faculty and giving generously to the University as a member of the President's Club.

The Alumni by Choice awards were created to recognize individuals who did not graduate from Mercer but have demonstrated loyalty to the University over the years. This year's recipients were Malcolm and Candy Burgess of Macon as well as Dicky and Kay Saunders of Columbus.

Alumni chapter awards included the New Chapter of the Year Award, which was accepted by leader Taylor Garrett on behalf of the Fort Myers (Florida) Chapter; the Chapter Service Award, accepted by Amy Griswold Martin on behalf of the Atlanta Chapter; and the Most Engaged Chapter Award, accepted by co-leaders Jamie Dickson and Jamie Givens on behalf of the Warner Robins Chapter.

To view a photo gallery from the Alumni Awards Dinner, click here.

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.​