Macon — When the late Ruth Harrison Resseau read about Mercer University's plans to open the School of Medicine more than 20 years ago, she decided to do what she could to help. She presented one of the first private gifts to the School in 1981, and continued to be a devoted supporter of the School of Medicine over the past two decades.
On Dec. 12, 2002, her nephew, William H. Elliott of Douglas, fulfilled her final wishes as he presented a $100,000 check from her estate to Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey and School of Medicine Dean Ann C. Jobe. The gift, which was bequeathed in her Last Will and Testament, will establish a low interest loan fund for students enrolled in the School of Medicine.
"She was a very unique lady," said Elliott, who remembers when Resseau first considered making a gift to the School of Medicine. "She had been reading about Mercer's plans to open a School of Medicine and how it would impact rural areas of Georgia," he said. "She believed in the School's mission and wanted to do what she could to make the School of Medicine a success."
A native of Kite, Resseau had also lived in Eatonton. She was a community leader and homemaker concerned about the health care needs of rural Georgia residents.
Resseau passed away Feb. 19, 2001.
"Mrs. Resseau truly was an outstanding citizen," said Godsey. "Her concern and her commitment to health care were demonstrated by her generosity to the School of Medicine throughout the years. We appreciate all she has done to enhance educational opportunities for Mercer Medical School students.
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Resseau was a home economist and dairy farmer. She also managed the Uncle Remus restaurant in Eatonton, and was a member of the Kite Homemakers Club.
Elliott presented the check to Mercer on behalf of Resseau's estate. Other survivors include a nephew, Hughel Harrison of Lawrenceville, and a great-nephew, Barry Parker, M.D., of Dublin, both graduates of Mercer University.
Mercer University School of Medicine admitted its charter class in 1982 in response to the need for more physicians in rural and other medically-underserved areas of Georgia. Today, Georgia residents make more than 1.2 million visits each year to physicians who graduated from Mercer University School of Medicine.