Triplets graduate from Mercer with bright plans for the future

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Two brothers and a sister, all Mercer students, stand together for a photo in front of a mirror mural while dressed up in nice attire.
From left, Benjamin, Mary Margaret and Matthew Smith are pictured with their awards after the Office of Campus Life’s 2024 Student Leadership Awards Ceremony. Leah Yetter photo

Benjamin, Mary Margaret and Matthew Smith didn’t set out to go to college together, but all three found their way to Mercer University and never looked back. The Macon triplets will graduate with their bachelor’s degrees on May 13 and have exciting plans in store for their next chapter.

“I think we’ve been a very good support for each other,” Benjamin said. “We all do our own different things, but it’s nice to know, especially going into a new chapter like college, that we all have each other.”

Matthew, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in management, was set on going to Mercer and participated in the early action admission process. 

“I really liked the size of Mercer and the feel of the campus,” he said. “I applied to the most schools out of the three of us, but they were all roughly the size of Mercer and offering the same things. We went and toured most of them, but I always thought, Mercer has this better. Mercer was always my number one, and I’m glad it was.”

His siblings, however, wanted to get out of the city they had grown up in. Mary Margaret, an elementary and special education major in the holistic child program, said she kept trying to push herself to like the other colleges she visited, but there was always something about them that didn’t feel right. 

“We went on the visit (to Mercer), and it really felt like home,” she said. “I was trying to get away. I was trying to do my own thing, but that wasn’t the plan. It worked out that Mercer ended up being the plan, and I have never looked back since. I have absolutely enjoyed my time at Mercer.”

Benjamin, a double-major in biology and communication studies, fell in love with Mercer’s smaller-school atmosphere and committed soon after his sister.

“For me, it took a second, but I did end up coming here, and I have loved every second of it. It has been a journey,” he said.

Benjamin Smith reflects on his Mercer University experience over the past four years.

In choosing Mercer, the Smiths continued an orange-and-black family tradition. Their parents, Todd and Mary Kay Smith, are Mercer alumni who met during freshman orientation, and Todd is the associate vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Mercer Alumni Association. 

“We’ve always been very close,” Mary Margaret said of the bond with her siblings. “We’ve shared really every other big event in our lives, so it kind of made sense to share the college experience together and be there to support each other in the different things we do and the similar things we do. It’s been nice to have that support on campus with us at any time.”

Benjamin, Mary Margaret and Matthew were active on campus, including in Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Wesley of Macon Ministries and the Office of Admissions Mercerian Experience Team. Benjamin and Matthew were members of the Student Government Association, for which Benjamin and Matthew served as president and vice president, respectively, when they were seniors. 

In addition, Benjamin was a peer advisor and resident assistant and was named the 2023 Homecoming king, and Mary Margaret was a peer advisor and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Mercer Educators in Action. All three received a Bear Award during the Office of Campus Life’s 2024 Student Leadership Awards. 

“I think that’s something special, that you can be so involved at Mercer, and Mercer wants you to be so involved,” Mary Margaret said. “All of the opportunities that I’ve been afforded, that we all three have been afforded, have been really meaningful.”

Matthew said he and his siblings have gotten along really well at Mercer the past four years. 

“I think having that little bit of distance, just being in a different area on campus and all three of us having different majors, has really helped to bring us together because we can have different things to talk about,” he said. 

The Smiths had their first overseas experience together when they participated in the Mercer On Mission trip to Rwanda in summer 2022. Benjamin and Mary Margaret also went to the Republic of Georgia with Mercer On Mission in summer 2023. 

Benjamin said these trips gave him a better understanding of the world. He loved having the opportunity to see different cultures and interact with the people living there. 

Mary Margaret said Mercer On Mission opened her eyes to teaching opportunities abroad and jump started her plans for after graduation. In September, she will begin a yearlong assignment teaching English at an elementary school in Spain through a program with the Council on International Educational Exchange. 

“I would never have thought to do that if it wasn’t for the Mercer On Mission trips that I got to go on,” Mary Margaret said. “I was able to use my education skills and backgrounds within the projects we did, and I was able to find ways to work with kids. That was very impactful for what my future now is going to be.”

After her time in Spain, Mary Margaret plans to be a classroom teacher for a few years and potentially work toward a master’s degree in elementary education and a specialist degree in English for Speakers of Other Languages. 

On May 18, Matthew is getting married to Elena Hintermaier, who just graduated from the nursing program at Middle Georgia State University. Then, he’ll move to Atlanta to start Mercer’s Master of Business Administration program, while serving as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Affairs.

Benjamin is staying in Macon to teach 10th grade chemistry at Mount de Sales Academy, where he and his siblings graduated from high school. He plans to do that for a few years, reassess his career goals, and possibly go back to school to earn a master’s degree. He said it’s ironic that he initially wanted to leave Macon, and now he’ll be staying in town to start his career.

“I’m super excited for all of us and the opportunities that we’re able to have,” Benjamin said. “I think if you’d asked each of us what we wanted to do going into college, none of us would have said the thing that we ended up doing.”

 

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